NZ Performance Car - - Tuning Guide -

The Mazda3 MPS will do 0–100kph in 5.4 sec­onds in stock form, and the tur­bocharged 2.3-litre is backed by an LSD-equipped six-speed man­ual gear­box.

In fac­tory form, the L3-VDT pro­duces 194kW (260hp) at the flywheel and has an all-alu­minium block with iron cylin­der sleeves and a top-mounted in­ter­cooler. The fac­tory turbo — al­though a weak point — pro­duces around 13–14psi of boost pres­sure and has been known to be ef­fi­cient up to about 17.5psi, pro­vid­ing the cor­rect sup­port­ing mod­i­fi­ca­tions are in place. So, what mod­i­fi­ca­tions should be done to the L3-VDT?

Be­fore you be­gin adding a bleed valve or boost con­troller, there are a few main­te­nance tasks that you ideally need to com­plete first. Ac­cord­ing to the ex­perts, start off by switch­ing over to a high-qual­ity, fully syn­thetic 5W-40 or 5W-30 oil, change your spark plugs to ei­ther a seven or eight heat-range plug, and in­stall a higher-flow­ing panel fil­ter. If you plan to use the car at week­ends only, or at the track, the added gain from an open-pod fil­ter will be ben­e­fi­cial. How­ever, it is ad­vised to use the fac­tory air­box with the high-flow fil­ter if you do a lot of around-town driv­ing.

An­other com­mon part to fail with an in­crease in power is the rear lower en­gine mount. Sev­eral Mazda MPS Own­ers Club mem­bers have had such fail­ures at the track, which just ru­ins the fun. Re­plac­ing this en­gine mount with an up­rated stiffer unit is the best op­tion. While you’re there, re­plac­ing the shifter bush in the gear­box is also ad­vised. An­other rec­om­men­da­tion is to get a base tune, which will en­sure your Mazda is healthy enough to mod­ify and make sure your oxy­gen sen­sor is work­ing cor­rectly should you de­cide to tune your en­gine with maps avail­able on­line.

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