Next on the mod list, was some parts from COBB Tuning. Yes, I know I have bitched about them in the past. But I have always maintained we made quality parts together. And in the tuner market for everything other than the EVO, they have no equal. So I decided to swallow my pride and emailed Trey. And shortly after, I contacted them and I ordered some parts. The parts included the AccessPort, Intake, and Turbo Inlet Hose. I actually was reminded of another part I designed that I needed to order, the COBB Knob. That should be arriving today.
The AcessPort actually went on before the coilovers. I will not go into details on what the AccessPort is because everyone knows what it is and what it does. And it does so much, that if I were to describe it, I would miss many features. The thing is simply amazing. Install was easy, and fast. Low end power did not seem any different. However, the power about 5,000 RPM or so was a huge surprise. Stock, the engine seems to have severe asthma in that range. With the AP on there, it just keeps revving. You can feel a plateau in the power, but stock, it actually loses so much power it feels like you touched the brakes. My mileage actually went up for the first tank by about .5-1 mpg. That is statistically negligible. But I was glad to see the mileage did not go down.
After the coilvers were on, I finally found time to put on the Turbo Inlet Hose and Intake. The whole process proceeded very smoothly. It took a total of about 80 minutes to install both items. About 15 minutes of that was spent getting a factory nipple, which I had I forgotten about, out of the vacuum hose behind the engine. I got impatient when taking the factory piece off and yanked on it, later realizing that nipple must have been what was holding it in. Good thing the COBB version came with a new nipple. The instructions for the Turbo Inlet Hose only cover the MazdaSpeed3, but it is close enough. Besides that, I have spent hours and hours under the hood of the 3 with that engine. The instructions were looked at once and forgot.
The entire time I was installing it, I kept being reminded of how much I liked the way we designed things at COBB. While I was working at COBB, my wife (now ex) decided to buy an AEM intake for her Mazda3. There was several times during that install, that I told her, “I would get my ass kicked or be fired if I designed something this poorly at COBB.” It was an exercise in frustration. Not because it was worse than everything else out there. But because it was so much worse than what I designed. And just the opposite happened while installing this. I kept telling myself, “There’s a spot I am sure everyone else has fitment issue, but not this guy…”
Power feels a little better on the top end. No different on the low end. But I love the sound on the low end. It isn’t like an NA intake that just has a loud, low, hollow sound to it. And it isn’t a sound like most turbo cars that is just a huge sucking sound. Rather, it is a subtle sucking sound with a very subtle bypass valve release when shifting. It’s subtle enough that I don’t hear it when I have the radio on, even at very low volume. So I usually end up driving around without the stereo on just so I can listen to it. I am sure the novelty will wear off, but it hasn’t yet.
And here is another picture of the whole setup just for good measure: