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 FAQ: Basic Mods 
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Joined: November 07 2000, 3:01 AM
Posts: 2516
Location: Gainesville, FL USA
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Post FAQ: Basic Mods
Basic Mods

The first thing that should be done to the Mazda K-series motors is switching
to synthetic oil. This costs little more, increases the life of your
HLA's, and, yes adds horsepower too. Mobil 1 5w30 is a
favorite. As with all small displacement, high revving powerplants, helping the engine
is usually the first modifications made to the 1.8L V-6.These fall into 2
sections: intake and exhaust.


There are surprisingly many options for intakes for the V-6. The most
popular bolt on intake is the PRM Jetstream kit. It is composed of a
K&N-style cone filter which is housed shortly after the VAF by silicon
adapters and a silicon tube that draws cool air from the left fenderwell.
The general consensus is that this kit is an excellent product, though the
directions and auxiliary mounting brackets leave something to be desired.
The PRM kit costs around $180USD. HKS also makes their Super Mega Flow
"green mushroom" intake kit for the V-6. The directions and
mounting hardware are first class, as is the cleanable/reusable foam filter
element. The only concern is that the location of the HKS filter (right on
the VAF) is subject to drawing in hot, under hood air, reducing potential
horsepower for this intake. You can usually get this kit for
$100-150USD. A third option is to make your own intake. This is of
course the most economical (~$20 USD +cost of filter), but the least visually
appealing. The general layout is a silicon adapter connected to a 90
degree 3" PVC elbow and drawing cold air with a filter attached to that via
a ~12" long PVC pipe. Sean
Matthews tested a .3 second improvement of his 0-60 times over his previous
setup of the K&N filter directly on the VAF. Even though that was on a
normally aspirated KLZE, this intake is likely a good idea if you already
have a K&N style cone filter or even HKS on your V-6.


The stock MX-3 GS exhaust is relatively good as far as performance
goes. There are really only 2 different cat back exhaust systems: the
Pacesetter and Mazdaspeed. Of the two the Pacesetter is the cheaper by
far at under $200USD. However, the quality is fair and the piping is not
much bigger than stock, so not much horsepower is gained from this system
(~3-4 whp). The Mazdaspeed system is a work of art. Corksport
dynoed a 1993 MX-3 GS SE with the exhaust disconnected and gained 5hp.
They then fitted the same car with the Mazdaspeed system and gained 4.2hp
while sounding almost like stock! However, at over $600USD this kit is
out of reach for most. The most popular route is purchasing a universal
muffler and having it put in with 2.25-2.5" pipe from the cat back.
Universal mufflers usually cost around $150-200USD for the popular styles and
the piping will cost $40-80USD depending on where you go. This usually
gains as much HP as the Mazdaspeed, but at the cost of the notorious
"K-series drone" from 2000-3000 RPMs. The only bolt-on headers
for the 1.8 litre are the Hurricane Headers, available at Corksport for
$449USD. These dynoed out at 1.9hp. A possible route is adapting
headers designed for the 2.5 litre, like the Brospeed, Bosal, Pacesetter, or
Hotshot. This would require custom exhaust due to the different manifold
angles. Another viable alternative is porting out the stock manifolds. Steve
(Tekguy) noticed around 1hp gain when he switched from his heavily ported
stock manifolds to the Pacesetter headers. This is likely due to
his not having enough fuel with the stock setup, however porting is a strong
option for those seeking more flow/decreased backpressure.

Other mods

Another area that many V-6 owners address is cooling the engine. This
is because the Mazda K8 seems to suffer from a great deal of power loss upon
reaching operating temperature. One modification is phenolic spacers
that go between the heads and the intake manifold, providing a thermal
break. Having used these myself, the manifold is much cooler. For
more information go to Sean Morgan's site at
. The current price is $59USD, making it a great performance
bargain. Another mod is removing the rubber weather-stripping on the
back of the engine compartment to reduce under hood temperatures. Also, the
coolant lines running into the Throttle Body can be bypassed, keeping boiling
200 degree water away from incoming air.

David Coleman
I used to know alot about MX-3's, but not so much anymore. Oh well.

April 19 2002, 11:36 PM
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