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 Old 02-15-2010, 02:14 AM   #1
 
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Default Design's Long Term Ownership/Build Thread

Update at 192K:
- Coolant Hoses
- Passenger Motor Mount
- Clutch and Salve Cylinders
- AC Relay
- CEL P2009/Weak Starts
- Epilogue
Design's Long Term Ownership/Build Thread

****************************************

Update at 180K:
- CEL P2009 Variable Tumble Control Circuit Low
- Weak starting due to fuel pump/filter
Design's Long Term Ownership/Build Thread

************************************************** **********

Update at 172K:
- HID bulb replacement
Design's Long Term Ownership/Build Thread

************************************************** **********

Update at 167K:
- Oil Consumption <final diagnosis>
- Driver power winder switch
- AC compressor issue <resolved>
Design's Long Term Ownership/Build Thread

************************************************** **********

Updated 9/14/15:
- Oil consumption issue
- AC Compressor bearing issue
- KW Coilover update
- Michelin Pilot Sport A/S-3 Update
Design's Long Term Ownership/Build Thread

************************************************** **********

Updated 3/6/15:
- Oil consumption issue
Design's Long Term Ownership/Build Thread

Updated 12/1/14 @ 133K:
- Michelin AS/3 Update
- KW Coilover Update
- Ambient Temp Issue
- Oil Cooler Issue
Design's Long Term Ownership/Build Thread

************************************************** **********

Updated 5/21/14 @ 120K:
- Maintenance report
- Audio and Android Integration update
Design's Long Term Ownership/Build Thread

************************************************** **********

Updated 3/5/14 @ 115K:
- AC compressor update
- Hypertech tune
- Michellin A/S 3 Tires
Design's Long Term Ownership/Build Thread

************************************************** ***********

Updated 8/30/13 @ 103K:
- AC compressor issue
Design's Long Term Ownership/Build Thread

************************************************** ***********

Updated 1/26/13 @ 89K:
Design's Long Term Ownership/Build Thread

************************************************** ***********

Updated 3/19/11 @ 50K:
- Maintenance
- Pirelli Pzero Nero Tires
- KW V2 Coilovers
http://www.mazdaspeedforums.org/foru...30/#post774011

************************************************** **********


Updated 12/20/10 @ 45K:
- MSCAI Filter Cleaning (complete with near-disaster)
- Corksport Inserts
- H&R Coilover Update
- Hankook Ventus V12 Evo Update
http://www.mazdaspeedforums.org/foru...30/#post658208

************************************************** **********

Updated 8/20/10 @ 37K:
- Powergrid Adjustable Endlinks
- CPE Rear Motor Mount
http://www.mazdaspeedforums.org/foru...30/#post620317

************************************************** **********

Updated 7/5/10 @ 33K:
- H&R Coilovers, the good and the bad
- Cabin Filter

http://www.mazdaspeedforums.org/foru...30/#post570484

************************************************** **********

Model: 2009 CWP MS3 GT, purchased Jan 2009
Current mileage: 24,875
Mods:
-Rear bumper guards
-Wheel locks
-Ventureshield Clear Bra
-OEM iPod integration unit
-MSCAI



Premise

After seeing so many questions raised about MS3 reliability & maintenance, I thought I'd start a running log regarding my ownership of the MS3. I will update this thread every so often - kind of like a blog I guess - to give others an idea of your typical ownership experience. Unlike many, I plan to keep this car until the wheels fall off or family priorities dictate otherwise. Hope this proves useful to prospective buyers and fellow owners.




Maintenance/Reliability

After owning this car a year I can say it's been a pretty worry-free DD. I've only had one warranty claim for the squeaky seat belt bolts. Beyond that, a few minor ticks/rattles from the console due to the nearly worn Bridgestone RE50's. Front passenger carpet will separate from the plastic trim over time as people enter/exit the car. Also have an intermittent tick from the engine bay which only appears at certain RPMs. If I can isolate the noise, I'll probably have the dealer take a look. All of these things are more annoying than an actual problem.

Senior tech at the dealer (Tuttle Click Mazda of Irvine) seems to know his stuff and is always open to share his views on what goes wrong on these cars. Ironically, he sees very few Speeds in for warranty work, whether approved or denied. Biggest issue has been the HU, which was sourced through a new vendor starting in 08.5. Beyond that, one or two turbos from earlier models, a seized belt buckle, and a few other minor odds & ends.

I have the oil changed every 3,700 miles using whatever run-of-the-mill brand was chosen by the dealer. Get charged $26.00 for oil, rotation (every 7500), and basic inspection. Car is treated with respect, and the Service Manager is a fairly down to earth guy. Their stand on warranty claims is like most other Service Managers I've spoken with; Change the oil and filters at the designated intervals and you're fine. They don't really pay attention to aftermarket parts unless they're excessive or a failure appears to be connected to a mod.


Mods

The clear bra was installed 7 days after getting the car and has been one of the best investments to date. I get a little dirt around the edges but nothing that can't be cleaned with a toothpick. Lifetime warranty on materials/installation, and the installer has offered to come back anytime to touch up the film as needed. I've had a few nasty high speed impacts, but the film has remained resillient. One small puncture about 1" wide from a sharp object at 70 mph. Everything else has buffed out with some clear wax and a little pressure.

Rear scuff guards were also purchased early and have saved my butt more than once taking things in and out of the hatch. OEM iPod interface was purchased 3 months later. It works well, though it sometimes shows a mismatch on the text display between the displayed artist/song and what is actually playing. Only happens when I hit the RDM function. MSCAI was purchased in May 2009 and added 27 HP at the hubs as measured by a Dynapack. As many others have said, car holds power all the way to 6K. I've had a couple issues with fuel cut/hesitation, but they are few and far between. I run the air straightener at a 45* angle as recommended by Mazda.


Driving Experience

Overall, this car is just as fun now as it was the first day I got it. I am slightly annoyed by the front end float, underdamped rear suspension, non-linear clutch engagement, and somewhat mysterious shifter at WOT. First two problems will be fixed next month with a decent coilover suspension. I might eventually replace the tranny mount like many others have done, but for now the vague shifts at WOT are liveable.

Car is predictable in the turns, though a bit unsettling at its limits. I suspect some of this has to do with the design of the rear suspension. The rear bump stops are apparently progressive and help to simulate a rapid increase in spring rate. So the initial contact with the stopper is very soft, but rapidly becomes stiff as you apply more pressure. So if you're on the stopper in a hard corner and hit a small bump, you'll get some unexpected wheel hop. I suspect with better rear dampers the car would react better to this type of condition. Wife feels the stock suspension is slightly annoying, but liveabe.

Everyone who has ridden in this car has commented on the interior quality. Alecantra trim is holding up well with no signs of premature wear. Seats are well bolstered yet surprisingly comfy even on 8+ hour trips. Car is perfect for hauling just about anything, from groceries to flat screen TV's. Exhaust note is pronounced but not overpowering IMO.

Bose system is not horrible, but nothing great either. Highs and lows are puposely cut by the signal processor (I suspect to promote longer speaker life). CD changer works great, though a bit slow with MP3's. The Aux input restricts the signal somewhat which is one of the reasons I got the iPod adapter. Unlike some, my auto wipers work fine. I have sensitivity set in the middle.


That's it for now. Next update will be after I install the coilovers. Thanks for reading!


Last edited by Design; 09-18-2017 at 12:12 PM.
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 Old 07-05-2010, 11:10 PM   #2
 
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Update @ 33K:


H&R Coilovers

Got a used set of H&R coilovers installed along with the SPC rear camber kit. It's a great suspension with a smooth and controlled ride. But unfortunately they are for the MZ3 variant. Hence, the front sits a little too low and makes a bit more contact with the bump stops than I'd like. I suspect this won't be an issue once the MS3 version is available (currently on backorder). Rears feel slightly overdamped. But that's expected with a sport shock setup. For the price, they are a quality setup. Can't really recommend them yet until the replacements are installed. But here's a quick list of impressions so far:

Likes:
- Install friendly. No drilling or custom fabrication required. You reuse all the stock components except the front bump stops. That makes the system especially quiet.
- Bilstein dampers. Enough said.
- Diminished front end float.
- Progressive coils. This makes the ride a bit more compliant than linear coilover systems. I can't fully comment on the ride quality due to the limited suspension travel, but it feels slightly stiffer than Pro-Kit springs. H&R advertises 7K F (P) and 3K R (P).
- Inverted front struts. These have slightly more free travel than comparable struts with an external bump stop. Also, due to the inverted design, the threaded coilover rings sit higher on the strut body and allow for a greater adjustment range. See link below:
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...0234_large.jpg

Dislikes:
- Front brake line brackets. They are too small for the MS3 brake lines. However, they can be separated and made to fit with basic tools.
- Front end link brackets. They are about 1" too high on the strut body. This causes the sway bar to operate outside its intended range, causing some noise from the sway bar bushings. I believe this can be fixed with 1" longer end links.
- Rear adjustable perch mounts. They are inverted and difficult to access. To adjust, you may be required to disassemble the rear spring assembly and extract the perch.

Camber Kit
Now, about the SPC camber kit. It's a quality piece of engineering, but they are a PAIN to install. Why? The rear arms are in the way of just about everything. To replace, you technically have to disassemble the rear subframe to remove the EVAP PUMP which in turn provides enough clearance to remove the rear arm's bolt. Fortunately there's an ALTERNATIVE.

Adjustment isn't too bad. You have to unbolt the rear arm from the brake assembly and turn the bolt accordingly. Might have to do this a few times in order to fine tune your settings.


Maintenance

I was able to get 29K out of the stock RE50's. Replaced them with Hankook Ventus V12 Evo K110 in the stock size. First impression; they are not as quiet nor as sticky as the Bridgestones. But for 130.00 per corner, they are an excellent tire. I've put on 4K already and they still grip well, are fairly quiet, and are wearing evenly. Highly recommended as long as you don't drive in the snow.

I replaced the cabin filter at 30K as recommended by Mazda. As many have said, it's a pain in the tail to access. But this VIDEO made it much less painful. The tutorial is spot on. But since you are disconnecting the fuse box I'd also recommend disconnecting the negative battery cable.

I've had no other issues besides the noise from my front sway bar bushings. Still change the oil at the dealer every 3.7K. Brake/tranny/PS fluids are all in good shape. Will probably replace them at 45-60K despite Mazda's claims of "lifetime" fluids. Interior is still holding up well. And I still average 22-26 MPGs with mixed driving.


Driving Impressions

Is it still fun? Absolutely. Despite some choppy road manners, the coilovers have really transformed this car's agility. Twistys are more rewarding, acceleration is more controlled, and the ride overall is more connected. Still love the whistle of the intake and catching people off guard at WOT. Still find excuses to take the family somewhere, anywhere.

Future plans include the sound system and wheels sometime early next year. Next update will be when the coilovers are replaced. Thanks for looking!

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 Old 07-06-2010, 07:50 PM   #3
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Lose the side moldings. Great color choice. Damn I wish I coulda got a GT
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 Old 07-06-2010, 08:05 PM   #4
 
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You just put the coilovers on, no update until you replace them????

car looks great btw
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 Old 07-06-2010, 08:08 PM   #5
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hey OP -- just for future reference, make sure you update your original post with an "EDIT DATE POSTED" just in case this thread gets to be a couple pages long and we dont have to sift through all those pages to get updates

it'll be easier on all of us!

thanks and good luck!

oh.. .and DONATE
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 Old 07-06-2010, 08:14 PM   #6
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to add to the advice given....no one reads long story book posts ...so the essentials are crucial (i dont even know wtf this thread is about)

im off to jack someone elses now
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 Old 07-06-2010, 08:48 PM   #7
 
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Just because you're an inbred mouth breather that can't read past a 4th grade level doesn't mean everyone else is.

I enjoyed the read, keep the updates coming OP
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 Old 07-07-2010, 02:31 AM   #8
 
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Originally Posted by 09Speed3Z View Post
Lose the side moldings. Great color choice. Damn I wish I coulda got a GT
Thanks. However, function > form. They've already saved my doors twice.

Originally Posted by 6SpeedTA95 View Post
You just put the coilovers on, no update until you replace them????

car looks great btw
The coilovers are an MZ3 variant so I'll be replacing them soon. Regardless, I plan to update this thread every few months.

Originally Posted by gtarman77787 View Post
hey OP -- just for future reference, make sure you update your original post with an "EDIT DATE POSTED" just in case this thread gets to be a couple pages long and we dont have to sift through all those pages to get updates

it'll be easier on all of us!

thanks and good luck!
Done. Good advice; thanks.
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 Old 11-17-2010, 12:14 PM   #9
 
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Old post was deleted from the forum crash. Reposting:





Update @ 37K:


Powergrid Endlinks

Took last weekend and installed a few parts I had laying around. First, the endlinks. Ever since I dropped the car on H&R coils the steering had become a bit numb. I was also getting a bit of noise as I would turn the wheel left or right. After talking with a few suspension gurus it was identified that the stock endlinks were causing the front sway bar to bind slightly.

As it was explained to me, the lower you drop the car the lower the front bar sits towards the ground. To compensate, you either need lower endlink brackets on the strut or longer endlinks. I opted for longer endlinks since H&R uses endlink brackets comparable to OEM. Here's a pic of the struts for comparison; OEM is on the bottom:
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...0249_large.jpg

I specifically chose Powergrid for a couple of reasons. First, the endlinks are sealed like OEM, making them less susceptible to the elements (and associated noise). Second, Saitek - a member on M3F - was running a group buy for custom length endlinks. After a few measurements I opted for a 1" longer version. Few pics below:
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4001_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4002_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4004_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4005_large.jpg

The verdict? WOW. The car is once again nimble and reacts crisply to every input from the wheel. Turn-in is much more responsive. And all noises associated with the sway bar are now gone. Highly recommended.


CPE Rear Motor Mount

Now onto the motor mount. I had my choices narrowed down to Corksport and CPE. I elected to go with CPE because of the single piece design and testimonies from other users. IIRC, CPE makes three versions of the mount with varying levels of stiffness. There's a 60, 75, and 90 durometer. I went with the OTS version which is 75 duro. Quality and design are first rate. Beautiful piece of equipment:
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4003_large.jpg

So how is it after 450 miles? STIFF. That's both a good thing and a bad thing. I love the performance. Love the crisp 1-2 & 2-3 shifts @ WOT. Love the wheels being planted to the ground. But I hate, HATE the vibes. Being a solid mount, you're going to hear and feel the buzzing of the motor at all RPM's. And at lower revs it resonates throughout the cabin - especially at around 900 RPM's with the AC on. Taking off from a stop occasionally feels like the flywheel is chattering. Someone else said it best; at idle it feels like a vibrating Lazy Boy on the lowest setting.

So why is my own assessment at odds with almost every other review? Well, when you do a majority of your driving with a wife and daughter blasting the AC in stop & go traffic, the vibes can get annoying quick. I've heard a few members complain about various RMM's in these types of driving conditions, so I know it's more a matter of circumstance than personal preference.

Overall I'd recommend this mount to anyone who's focused strictly on performance. It does exactly what it advertises. But if your MS3 is a DD, you might want to take a ride with someone who's already running this or a similar RMM. I know there's some additional break-in that will occur, but I unless it's drastic I expect to pawn off this mount to someone who'll use it to its full potential.



That's it for now. Thanks for looking!
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 Old 11-24-2010, 03:42 PM   #10
 
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i like it. i was wanting to do something like this but it will most likely get hijacked by a hater and then be useless. one criticism would be to upload the pics here then embed them in the thread. that way no linking and they would last as long as the thread does
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 Old 11-25-2010, 04:50 AM   #11
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OP, could you post the MZR and MS3 part numbers for the H&R coilovers?
when is the MS3 version you plan to install getting to you?

edit: as per h&R
29197-6 Mazdaspeed 3
29197-3 Mazda 3

what's the last denominator? different spring or strut?

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 Old 12-20-2010, 01:52 AM   #12
 
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Originally Posted by C!ph3r View Post
one criticism would be to upload the pics here then embed them in the thread. that way no linking and they would last as long as the thread does
Good suggestion; I was thinking about a direct upload but my photo account is fairly active. Also allows me to do this write-up on multiple sites without having to upload pics multiple times. I know lazy lol.

Originally Posted by Tomas View Post
OP, could you post the MZR and MS3 part numbers for the H&R coilovers?
when is the MS3 version you plan to install getting to you?

edit: as per h&R
29197-6 Mazdaspeed 3
29197-3 Mazda 3

what's the last denominator? different spring or strut?
I'm told the front springs are slightly stiffer but I won't be able to confirm until the new kit is in my hands. I'm going to hold off until February and allocate funds to other priorities.



************************************************** **********



Update at 45K:


MSCAI Filter

Mazda recommends cleaning the filter every 20K so I took a couple hours off to get it done. First thought? A 2nd filter would be REALLY convenient lol. Most filters - even CAI ones - are pretty easy to access once installed. Mazda's version is a bit more challenging due to the splash shield. On a lowered car you're required to jack it up, remove the driver's side wheel/splash shields, and remove the MSCAI filter/splash shield assembly. Not to hard but certainly more work than a short ram. What's worse is that the filter takes a good 24-48 hours to dry depending on the weather. Here are a few pics of the process (for those who don't have the MSCAI):

- Filter cleaning kit (two bottles). Exact same contents as the AEM version, part #21-110.
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4026_large.jpg

- Few shots of the filter removed. The lower splash shields need to be removed in order to access the filter assembly. On lowered cars, it's recommended you remove the driver's side front wheel for easier access.
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4027_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4023_large.jpg

- The filter splash shield bolts directly to the intake piping. So removing the bolts first will allow you to disconnect and pull the assembly out from under. As you can see, the filter is impossible to remove without first unbolting the splash shield.
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4028_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4021_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4019_large.jpg

- Cleaning the filter requires both bottles to be used. Empty one into a bucket of warm water and rotate the filter back and forth a few minutes to agitate the dirt. DO NOT allow the water to enter the neck or dirt released from the outer layer of the filter will adhere to the inner assembly and eventually soil the MAF. Remove the filter, tap off excess water, dump the bucket and repeat the process again.
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4020_large.jpg


So how was the end result? Nearly disastrous. Took the car on a test drive after letting the filter air dry for 24 hours. Damn thing bogged violently on anything but a light tap on the throttle. Turns out the interior of the filter assembly was still slightly damp and interfering with the MAF under load. After letting the filter dry another 24 hours all was good. Inspected the MAF for any residue or dirt. Nothing. Could have easily been a $200 mistake.



CPE RMM Update/Corksport Inserts

As I mentioned previously the CPE 75 duro RMM wasn't quite working out. After a good 1K of constant driving with the HVAC on it was time for a change. Ended up doing a trade + cash with a member who had been running Corksport Inserts for 40K. The results were pleasantly surprising.

Many people on the boards claim the inserts wear out after several thousand miles. I can tell you first hand that's NOT the case - at least compared to stock that is. The inserts, despite having some hard miles on them, made a noticeable difference the moment I drove out the garage. Minor increase in NVH but Corksport retains approximately 60-70% of a solid mount's rigidity. The real test was the wife who didn't even notice a change over stock. The inserts alone won't completely solve wheel hop but it's a great compromise between performance and practicality. I'd consider this product a must-have.


H&R Coilovers Update

I had noticed the rear end getting a bit squirrely over uneven roads and suspected one of the shocks might be getting a little weak. Imagine my surprise when I saw this:
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4007_large.jpg

You can't really tell in the crappy cellular pic but that's oil all over the rear passenger shock. Completely blew the seal. Fortunately Bilstein rebuilds H&R dampers as the internals are very similar. Difference is that H&R uses more aggressive damping to compensate for the lower ride height.

According to the guy who performed the service the shock blew because of excess dirt in the shaft. The good news is that it only costs about $65 for general servicing. The bad news is that the excess dirt scored the rod and required a new one to be custom cut to match. Total cost was just over $100 and was done in less than 4 business days. Hats off to Bilstein for excellent service and communication.

So does H&R have crappy build quality? Nope; my own damn fault. When you trim the rear jounce bumpers for additional suspension travel, you have to remove the dust shields. Hence the excess dirt in the shaft. So when putting the shocks back in I added a nylon cap for extra protection.


Hankook Ventus V12 Evo Update

In dry weather the Hankooks are still holding up great. Getting a little noisy but expected of a tire with 16K worth of wear. What I didn't expect was how slippery they've become in the wet. Some of it is due to the uneven wear pattern generated by the increased camber/toe of the lowered ride height. But I still have another 4-5mm left of usable tread. So I'll plan to flip the tires on the next rotation interval and monitor their performance. I suspect they'll be replaced by the summer if not sooner.



That's it for now. Thanks for looking!

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 Old 02-25-2011, 12:19 PM   #13
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I feel the absolute same way about the Corksport inserts versus full motor mount and I have used both just like you. Not many people will tell you this.

Also, I am almost due for tires myself and I am debating between the V12s and the Star Specs. I don't want to lose the feel and grip of the OEM tires but they are too expensive.
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 Old 02-25-2011, 01:11 PM   #14
 
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Originally Posted by Lex View Post
I feel the absolute same way about the Corksport inserts versus full motor mount and I have used both just like you. Not many people will tell you this.

Also, I am almost due for tires myself and I am debating between the V12s and the Star Specs. I don't want to lose the feel and grip of the OEM tires but they are too expensive.
Lex - You may want to consider the Nitto NT-05's. Sticky and much less cash money than the Star Specs.
BTW, I have had the CS inserts on my car since about 5K miles. I have 40K now and they still feel fine.
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 Old 02-25-2011, 02:33 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jv92red View Post
Lex - You may want to consider the Nitto NT-05's. Sticky and much less cash money than the Star Specs.
BTW, I have had the CS inserts on my car since about 5K miles. I have 40K now and they still feel fine.
They don't have the size I am looking for 225/45/18
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 Old 02-25-2011, 03:27 PM   #16

 
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Originally Posted by Lex View Post
They don't have the size I am looking for 225/45/18
They run skinny, their 235/40/18 ought to be very close.
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 Old 02-25-2011, 04:37 PM   #17
 
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The Hankooks are great, I like them alot.
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 Old 02-25-2011, 04:42 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ziggo View Post
They run skinny, their 235/40/18 ought to be very close.
What's a good place to buy?
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 Old 02-25-2011, 04:49 PM   #19
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^^^ ebay has god prices on NT05s. Yes, they do run thin but I think on 7" stock rims is still a little too much. I got 235s on RX8 rims and they are fuckin fantastic.
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 Old 03-19-2011, 05:45 PM   #20
 
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Update at 50K




Maintenance


Pads and Rotors

At 47K the OEM pads were getting a little thin. In fact, they were so worn I hadn't even noticed that one of the inner pads had worn down to the backing plate. Picked up replacement pads and rotors through onlinemazdaparts.com for about $300.

I had been thinking about trying a set of aftermarket pads since many go for half the price of OEM. But after driving two MS3's with Hawk HPS pads equipped, I realized OEM is worth the price. Hawk and other street pads aren't bad. But in addition to reduced initial bite, they just require some extra braking effort to stop on par with OEM. And I really like the feel of the Mazda pads.

Being new to ABS, I enlisted my buddy Tony to help out with the swap. With the exception of the retainer spring, they're really no different than standard brakes. But I found it interesting that Mazda does not use brake lubrication on the slider pins or pad guides. In the future I'll probably do them myself - they're that easy.

Few photos:
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4102_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4101_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4103_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4104_large.jpg

Tony taking apart the assembly. That original pad is THIN:
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4105_large.jpg

After driving the car for a bit I've noticed the pedal is still a little soft. Still holds pressure and stops on a dime. But I miss the firm brake feel I used to have. I may have them bled and see if that solves the issue. Otherwise I'll take it to a pro for some more integrated diagnostics. More about that in the future.


CEL

So at about 48K I had my check engine light go off. Ran the codes with a little $45 scanner tool I picked up at Harbor Freight. Pulled these codes:
- P2187 - Too Lean at Idle Bank 1
- P0442 - P0442 Evap System Small Leak
- P0456 - Evap System Very Small Leak

After a bit of reading I suspected it was a bad purge valve. Apparently a common problem with these cars. So I took the car do the dealer and handed them a copy of a TSB about the issue:
http://www.miatamania.com/graphics/p...21-09-2108.pdf

Sure enough, 5 hours later my car is good to go with a new purge control valve installed (had it shipped from a nearby dealer). No other maintenance issues to report.





Pirelli PZero Nero Tires

In my previous entry I mentioned some aggressive wear on the Hankook Ventus Evos. Turned out they were shot at 18K. I did run them at .1* Toe-In on the front. But I'm still surprised they burned through this quickly. My next set would need to last a little longer and have basic all season capabilities. Enter the Pirelli PZero Nero.

We have Pirelli's on my wife's car. Fairly quiet. Long life. Good grip. All around, a decent tire for the money. And for the MS3, Pzero Nero's faired pretty well on TireRack:
Finding the "Ultra" in Ultra High Performance All-Season Tires

Picked up a set through Discount Tire for 160 each installed. Stock size; 400 treadwear rating; 45K warranty. Despite the harder compound, my first impression is favorable. Fairly low noise (not as quiet as Hankook) and excellent grip w/o squeal. We have rain coming here tomorrow so we'll see how they fair in the wet. But so far I'm happy with them. I'll post a couple of pictures of them next time.






KW V2 Coilovers

I had mentioned in an earlier post that I was looking to replace the used H&R coilover set I picked up in April. Main reason was because the set I bought was designed for the MZ3 and had minimal suspension travel up front. I also wanted topside rebound control for family outings.

So last week I finally had a new set of V2's installed. Once again my buddy Tony was kind enough to help out. Few photos:

http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4050_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4052_large.jpg

KW supplies a more aggressive strut bushing (bearing pack):
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4080_large.jpg

KW requires you to reuse the OEM strut perch. Here's a photo of it assembled with KW's strut bushing:
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4074_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4078_large.jpg

KW also requires you to use a 10mm drill bit to widen the rear OEM top mount. Few photos of the completed effort:
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4089_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4090_large.jpg

Pics installed on the car. The black marks on the strut indicate max in min height range:
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4086_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4087_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4092_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4091_large.jpg

Pics of the car. Rear is at the initial drop and front is 2mm lower. Since then I've lowered the car another 2-3mm:
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4093_large.jpg
http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_...4094_large.jpg


I've only put on a few hundred miles so I'll share some high level impressions.
- Stiff but not harsh
- Dead quiet
- Excellent control over multiple undulations

The ripple effect from undulations - especially on the highway - was a huge fault of both the OEM suspension and the H&R coilovers. The OEM rear shocks were too underdamped to control chassis movement while the H&R's were slightly overdamped. I still think the H&R's provide a more compliant ride under most conditions, but the V2's have a wider range of "acceptable" road manners (due to the adjustable rebound). I also like KW's placement of the strut endlink mounts and rear adjustment perch. Money well spent.

V2's have 18 levels of rebound adjustment. On the recommended settings (9 clicks), low speed damping can get a bit irritating around town. However, dialing back the rebound 4-5 clicks is much better for the daily commute. For aggressive days, the recommended settings work well.






That's it for now, but plan to have an update on the tires and coilovers after another 1K of use. Thanks for looking!

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 Old 03-20-2011, 04:31 PM   #21
 
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i love your updates. keep it up.
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 Old 03-20-2011, 04:47 PM   #22
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Moving thread.. this should have not been posted here.. So i made new sections just for these types of posts..
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 Old 03-29-2011, 07:48 PM   #23
 
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nice looking car you got there
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 Old 04-04-2011, 12:01 AM   #24
 
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^^ Thanks.


Quick update. It's now been 700 miles and the coils/tires have worn in nicely. Few thoughts:
  • The KW V2's are dead quiet. There is some mild noise in situations where the piston compresses quickly, such as a speed bump or small pothole. Not a problem just a minor annoyance.
  • Compression damping is spot on. At approximately a 1" drop there is just enough forgiveness to prevent excessive contact with the bump stops. This was the solution I required that the MZ3 H&R's couldn't provide.
  • Spring rate is a bit stiff for DD. They're not harsh, but 45 mile+ trips can get a bit weary. Wife is 8 mos pregnant and says the ride is livable. Daughter has no problem sleeping in the back, but some bumps can juggle her around slightly. I have rebound dialed back to 5 clicks about soft when they're in the car.
  • Near the limits these coils shine. Understeer is still prevalent but a bit more controlled. Case in point, my usual 270* onramp leads to an off-camber exit just before reaching the fwy. That nasty transitional hump would upset both the H&R's and OEM suspension, but at least the H&R's kep the rear wheel planted. The KW's allow the chassis to glide over the hump in a smooth, predictable understeer condition. Furthermore, there's no harsh shift in direction as the front regains traction - a dangerous behavior with OEM.
  • High speed damping is much more controlled. These coils beg to go fast and feel better at higher speeds. They remain flat over concrete deviations and moderate, multiple undulations where OEM did not. H&R's would occasionally encounter a pogo effect but it was very rare, and only under a combination of undulations at higher speed.
  • Rebound and perch adjustment are incredibly easy. Rear height can be adjusted on the ground, no disassembly required, by spinning the adjuster from under the lower spring mount. Fronts you simply remove the wheels to access the perch. With 18 levels of adjustment, I find 5 works best for DD (7 for me alone). 9-11 works best for spirited drives. Anything more than that and the chassis overreacts to every imperfection in the road.
  • Pirellis pick up more road noise than OEM/Hankooks. They grip just as well as the Evos but pick up more vibrations due to the harder compound. That was expected of an A/S tire. Like Hankook, there is no squeal until you actually break loose. Sidewall on the Pirellis is definitely stiffer. I can run these at 32-34 PSI where the Hankooks I had to run at 36-38. Wet traction is very good. Had no issues with the recent rainstorms here in Cali over the last several weeks.

That's it for now. Thanks for looking!

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 Old 11-15-2011, 05:09 AM   #25
 
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nice thread, love looking at your car like it's mine (but clean) lol
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Update at 89K:

For too long since I’ve posted so here goes.



Maintenance


Front Brakes

At 58K I burned through my 2nd set of OEM front pads. As much as I love OEM I decided to try out the Hawk HPs. I have driven two Gen1's with HPs and didn’t think they were horrible. I decided it might be worth trying them out for a season and see how they’d hold up long term. Matched them with a new set of OEM blanks.

My assessment after 30K? Not as good as OEM.

The good:
- More progressive/linear braking
- Less dust
- Cost $110 less

The bad:
- Reduced initial bite
- Increased braking effort
- Occasional noise under light braking

I’ve confirmed that the noise/performance has nothing to do with the pad/disc combo. I drove my buddy’s car with HP/Centric discs and noticed the same issues. So I may return to OEM pads after the HPs are done. More to follow.


CV Boot

At 80K I noticed that my driver’s side LCA was accruing grease. Looking just above, I noticed a small pinhole in the CV boot. Didn’t look like it had been there long and the leak appeared to be very slow. So it was likely that the CV joint hadn’t yet been contaminated.

I learned two important things when researching replacement options:
- The passenger side CV boot is not replaceable; the entire assembly must be swapped out ($300)
- When swapping out the assembly on higher torque applications, NEVER use a cheap aftermarket CV joint/assembly. On the EMPI/DTA models, there have been quite a few reports of leaky CV boots and balance issues.

Fortunately, Mazda sells a driver's side boot kit for $55. Has everything you need - boot, clip rings, and grease. The DIY below is a pretty good summary of what to do. Just be sure to drain the tranny fluid first lol:
How-To: CV axle / seal replacement. - Mazda3 Forums : The #1 Mazda 3 Forum

It’s been about 9K since I replaced the boot. No noise or other leaks to report.


Tires

Also at 80K I decided to replace the Pirelli P-Zero Neros. As most of us know, performance all seasons are a mixed bag. They are great for the first 20-25K. Then as the harder compound becomes exposed, the tires get noisy fast. With 15K left on the treadwear warranty, and with the tires down to 4/32nds, the shop was willing to warranty the remaining tread. Despite the noise and occasional squeal, I felt the Pirellis aged well. So I picked up another set. Total cost with the warranty credit was less than $400 installed.


General

Overall this car is holding together well. The KW V2s are rock solid (abet a few extra rattles from the interior). No major flaws with the interior materials/panels, paint, or body panels. Clearbra has held up well with only a few scratches.

I've noticed the throttle is not as responsive and gas mileage has decreased slightly. I suspect it's due to a heavy buildup of carbon deposits. I may do a full cleaning of the intake manifold and throttle body. We’ve had a couple guys in our area get it done with favorable results. DIY can be found here:
HOW TO: Clean your valves - easy & cheap




Bose Upgrade

I had been meaning to create a thread of my audio build that was done last year. But for now I’ll post a few thoughts. As most of us know the Gen 1 Bose is lacking. Muddy mids, distorted highs, and non-existent lows. Much of it is due to the signal processing in the Bose amp. But the paper speakers don’t help either. With a budget of $700, I set out to do a full swap of the amp, speakers and sub. Here’s what I ended up with:

1. Pioneer TS-A1604C 6.5” Component Front Speakers: Pioneer TS-A1604C (TSA1604C) 6.5" 2-Way Component Speaker System

2. Pioneer TS-D6902R Coaxial 6x9 Rear Speakers:
Pioneer TS-D6902R (TSD6902R) 6" x 9" 2-way D Coaxial Car Speakers

3. Pioneer GM-6500F 4 Channel Amp: Pioneer GM-6500F (GM6500F) 760W 4-Channel GM Car Amplifier

4. Pioneer GM-5500T 2 Channel Amp: Pioneer GM-5500T (GM5500T) 820W 2-Channel GM Car Amplifier

5. JL Audio 8W3V3-4 subwoofer with jack-mount stealthbox: JL Audio 8W3V3-4 (8W3V34) 8" Single 4 ohm W3v3 Car Subwoofer

6. PAC AOEM MAZ-2 HU Integration Unit: PAC AOEM-MAZ2 (aoemmaz2) Interface that Allows Replacement or

7. OEM Mazda blank door sills for the tweeters

I have mixed feelings about using custom baffles and sound deadening. They make a significant difference on medium to high power setups. On lower power systems, I’ve found the advantages to be marginally thin. So I decided I’d test the setup without baffles/deadening for a bit, despite buying several sheets of sound deadening. I have passengers so I wasn’t too keen on skipping the rear speakers.

With the help of @meelo88, we got everything installed on two separate days. First were the doors. OEM speakers were 6x8 both front and rear. In the back, the Pioneer 6x9s dropped right in the factory location with almost no modification. But in the front, a baffle is needed for the 6.5” cone. Fortunately, Pioneer supplies a decent set of composite baffle plates with every D series speaker. And that allowed us to install the front cones with very little modification.

The speaker installation took several hours taking our time. During the install we tested the rears with Pioneer on one side and Bose on the other. The Bose sounded like it was behind a foam panel while the Pioneer sounded relatively clean and clear. But the balance was still off. Output was very bright in the upper midrange. And bass was muffled.

On Day 2 we installed the amps and wiring. I picked up the Pioneer amps specifically because they take up minimal space. We ran the amp wiring through the firewall behind the glove compartment. Then through the lower door plate and under the passenger seat. Everything tucked away nice and tidy. Unfortunately the PAC AOEM MAZ-2 was defective so we had to splice the amp harness under the driver’s seat. We took the F/R inputs and converted to RCA. We then hooked up the subwoofer to run off the rear channel. But the low frequency roll-off was too aggressive. Later on I swapped the sub to the front channel. Results we better, though we still noticed a mild low frequency roll-off.

Installing the jack-mount stealthbox requires some minor cutting of the interior carpet. This makes it difficult to adjust damping on the KW V2’s. So I cut a small access panel in the carpet near the top of the driver’s rear shock. The JL Sub is a very tight fit in this box. So I may go back and install a small MDF spacer ring to give an extra ½” clearance.

Overall I am very pleased with the results. Replacing the factory amp/signal processor has made the single biggest difference in sound quality. Speakers are still a little bright in the upper mid-range but nowhere near that of OEM. Output is balanced in all other areas except below 100hz. What we’ve determined is that the 08.5-09 factory HU trims the low level frequencies to preserve speaker life. It can be tuned out with a good EQ or a 6-12DB “bass boost” that is featured in many amps.

After switching from the harness back to the AOEM-MAZ2, I noticed a slight improvement in bass response but the roll-off is still present. This limitation, combined with the lack of Bluetooth and HD radio, has convinced me to switch to an aftermarket HU. In the coming months I’ll be installing the following:

1. Pioneer AVH-P8400BH: Pioneer AVH-P8400BH 7" Touchscreen DVD Car Receiver w/ Bluetooth

2. Kanatechs OEM fit Piano Black Dash Kit: KANATECHS Stereo Install Kit For 2007-2009 Mazda3

3. Axxess ASWC Steering Wheel Control Adapter: Axxess ASWC Universal Steering Wheel Control Interface

4. Possibly more dense and water resistant speaker baffles

I think most people looking to upgrade the Bose would be happy with a simple amp or HU replacement. But I’ve learned that any upgrade should focus on bypassing the Bose processor/amp.

That’s it for now. Thanks for looking!

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 Old 02-27-2013, 12:30 AM   #27
 
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 Old 03-01-2013, 06:07 PM   #28
 
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You mentioned you swapped the endlinks when you had H&Rs, but did you stick with stock on KWs or get shorter ones?

Never mind, found your thread about installing .25" shorter end links.

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 Old 03-19-2013, 12:54 PM   #29
 
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Originally Posted by silkyms3 View Post
You mentioned you swapped the endlinks when you had H&Rs, but did you stick with stock on KWs or get shorter ones?

Never mind, found your thread about installing .25" shorter end links.
That is the beauty of adjustable endlinks. I'm considering raising the height just a tad and will shorten them accordingly.


Quick update - I've placed an order through Corksport for the Kanatechs dash kit. Expensive as hell - we'll see if the integration is worth it.
http://www.corksport.com/kanatechs-s...09-mazda3.html
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 Old 08-30-2013, 12:11 PM   #30
 
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Update at 103K:

Had my first reliability issue involving a bad AC compressor. Apparently this is a common problem as Panasonic makes the compressor for the MS3/MS6. According to several folks, they generally only last 6 yrs/60K. A replacement through Mazda wholesale costs roughly $1500 which includes the compressor, clutch, coil, drier, expansion valve, and serpentine belt. Knowing I'm going to drive another 100K, I'm ruling out going with a used one.

2009 MAZDA 3 Parts - Online Mazda Parts


Now for the good news. A quick search netted me a company based in San Diego called Discount AC Parts. They've been around since '88 and have a fairly good track record for the volume they provide. A replacement kit costs $430 which includes the genuine Panasonic compressor/clutch/coil assembly, drier and expansion valve.

New Genuine A C AC Compressor Kit for Mazda 3 5 06 09 | eBay


For the price I am willing to risk the installation to see how this pans out. Total cost should be roughly $700 installed. I will update in a couple of weeks.
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 Old 11-22-2013, 03:30 PM   #31
 
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Absolutely concur

Had a bit of trouble getting someone on the fone in the am, but later in the day, (yesterday) got johny on the line, and worked a deal for the NON oem, house brand. brand new 105mm compressor kit ( why get the same thing that shit the bed for so many of us)
$450 shipped overnight, was on my doorstep at 937 am in tampa, from sandiego.

color me impressed

now to go get dirty

bearing replacement was not an option, since it died on a roadtrip to Austin last weekend, it was clattering like hell when I first noticed it at a fuel stop and am proly very lucky to have made back home
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 Old 11-22-2013, 03:41 PM   #32
 
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Yeah that doesn't look good at all lol.

Quick update - I've had the OEM compressor in for 4K and absolutely no issues. Dead quiet and no loss in performance. Seems this vendor is the way to go for fellow owners.
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 Old 11-22-2013, 08:47 PM   #33
 
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I would agree, but add this.....

Very interesting issue for me with my 07

they list a 129, and 105 mmpart
this refers to pulley DIA
the compressor housing for the 129 looks very odd

the housing on my car matches the 105 housing, but has a 129 pulley.

My fix will be ordering a serpbelt for a 09 car
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 Old 11-23-2013, 08:28 AM   #34
 
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I just checked online mazda parts and found 2 belts for the 07, any model year 07 made before 1 jan 07 has the larger 129mm pulley and (i would imagine) a slightly longer belt
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 Old 11-23-2013, 12:01 PM   #35
 
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Interesting. Yeah the one on the left looks to be the same size of the Panasonic in the 09. Looks like the rivets are the same which is a good thing.

I'm guessing Mazda switched suppliers sometime in 07.
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 Old 03-05-2014, 02:06 PM   #36
 
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Another quick update.


First, I have almost 10K on the new compressor and it's been awesome. Discount AC Parts is the way to go for the Genuine Replacement.


Second, I ended up replacing the Pirellis with Michelin Pilot Sports A/S-3s, 225/40/18. After running them for a month I can now say they are the best tires I have ever owned. Like the reviews say, they pick up more noise than the Continental Extreme Contact DWS or Pirelli P-Zero Nero, but turn-in is much more precise with less sidewall flex. So Cal just had a huge storm and these tires just stuck to the road. No slip and no gripes from the steering wheel. We'll see how well they hold up after another 10K.



And finally, I got my hands on a cheap Hypertech ECU flash. I know, should have gone AP. But after running COBB's OTS tune for a week, I knew I would have to spend another $400 to get a decent load-based tune on 91.

That said, I understand now why people claim HT adds no power, according to the butt dyno. And I actually had to flash back to stock to ensure I had a gain. But the virtual dyno confirmed I got 15 peak HP increase at the crank (about 11-12 at the wheels) over baseline with MSCAI. Seems to be right in line with Hypertech's claims.

Going to do a few more logs and publish the results. And a coworker is willing to lend me the AP again to compare the canned Stage 1 tune (which I know folks have been wanting to see). More to come.
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 Old 03-05-2014, 02:53 PM   #37
 
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@Design; You should try the S-OTS tunes. Much more power than a normal ots tune. Its Stratifieds free tunes that people are very happy with.

When money comes your way, go custom tune =)
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 Old 03-05-2014, 04:08 PM   #38
 
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Thanks man. I'd really like to go custom. But to do it right I'd have to invest a lot of time to learn/tweak the tables, and take some funds away from getting the CS Rear Bar. In my experience, the boost-based tunes are too sensitive under partial throttle. It really wasn't that bad. But I do a lot of stop & go and it began wearing on me lol.
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 Old 05-21-2014, 12:52 PM   #39
 
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Update at 120K:

Thought I'd spend a little more time and give a proper update.



Maintenance


KW V2 Coilovers

I've now put 70K on the V2s and couldn't be happier. Just completed another inspection this weekend. No leaks, rust or noise. Damping has degraded slightly. But overall this system has held up well. I will probably have them serviced/resealed in another year or two.


Michelin Pilot Sport AS-3 Tires

After 5K miles I am still very happy with the Michelins. They continue to grip well and remain fairly compliant over most road environments. As most of us know, many companies use a harder compound to help reduce wear during the last 50% of an all-season tire's life. But unlike the Pirellis, the Michelins don't appear to be degrading as fast. I'll report back in another 5K.


Mazda FL22 Coolant

Last weekend I did the the coolant change at the recommended interval. Mazda recommends FL22 long life coolant for a couple of reasons. First, it extends service life of the typical coolant change from 30K to 60K. Second, unlike some aftermarket coolants that use silicates and/or phosphates, it is not as harsh on the rubber components. Probably worth the extra $6-8 to pick this up from the dealer.

The MS3 reportedly uses 1.9 gallons of coolant in the system. The DIY below was the only reasonable one I could find, in case you decide to do yourself:
How to : Coolant flush + Install of new Radiator hoses - Mazda3 Forums : The #1 Mazda 3 Forum

Couple thoughts if you're just doing a drain and refill:
- Remove the lower radiator hose to drain the passenger side fluid. That will usually account for a quart.
- If it's been a while since your last service, and to ensure you're removing as many contaminants as possible, run the car a few minutes to circulate the system. Then drain/refill again. This method requires an extra gallon of coolant.


AC Compressor

The new compressor has about 15K miles so far. Seems to be holding strong despite the nasty heat wave we had in So Cal last week. No other issues to report at this time.


Mazdaspeed CAI and Hypertech

As I mentioned previously the car has responded very well to the addition of the Hypertech unit. What I did not expect is how much better it would react with a slightly cleaner air filter. Along with the fluid change I did a quick clean of the MSCAI. And according to DashCommand's virtual dyno afterwards, I averaged am 8.5% improvement in average power across the curve from 3K-6K (vs. stock tune w/MSCAI). Not a bad gain for $200.

Fuel economy continues to be good for a car of this age. 21 city, 25 hwy; no hypermilling.




Audio System and Android Integration

I've now put over a year on the Pioneer AVH-X8500BHS and thought it was time to share some additional impressions:

- I still find sound quality to be pretty good for a unit in this price range. Though I had to use the AutoEQ to tune out a nasty spike at 2.5 khtz. This suggests that Pioneer uses a much more complex logic compared to the standard 8 band graphic EQ.
- AllShareCast (miracast) continues to works pretty well with AppRadio on the Galaxy Note 2. Though most phones probably cannot leverage this setup without at least 2 GB RAM and a quad core processor. I occasionally have to disconnect/reconnect. And the phone gets a little hot with extended use. But overall still very happy with this setup.
- Waze continues to work very well with AppRadio. No issues with GPS antenna as reported by other Samsung users. But as mentioned above, I don't use MHL to connect the phone.
- DashCommand still works well with AppRadio. Lag is still roughly 1/2 second between the OBDII dongle and the HU display. But datalogging is fairly consistent. After using the custom tuxedo skins, track/GPS app, and skidpad, I'm convinced this is well worth the additional $5 over Torque.

Here are a couple of videos showing the connection process and navigation of a few apps. The second video is a more detailed look at DashCommand:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEhruQ45UVA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtA8tS7TLLA


That's it for now. Thanks for looking!

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