Mazda CX3 Tuning

"Thank you for reading my CX3 tuning guide."

The small fun packed compact SUV from Mazda is a great car, and very well equipped.

Naturally aspriated petrol engines lack torque and could do with a bit of extra power in our opinion, but I guess that's why you're here.

The turbo models fizz and pop with sparkling performance and really reward the tuner with lots more power from relatively simple mods.

We look at CX3 tuning and outline the greatest mods that work. Mazda CX3's provide a fun base for your project and with the best uprated parts you can assuredly maximize your driving experience.

The CX3 is a good car tuning project to play with. If you do your planning then you can create an awesome CX3 but don't be fooled there are lots of modified mods out there that will simply not suit it read our unbiased guides first.

Tuning tips and articles

Engine tuning Transmission tuning Care care Intake & exhaust mods Improve handling Forums

Turning our attention to the CX3's engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end.

Keep it looking standard and remove the badges creating a sleeper!

Smaller engines do not provide much of a return in terms of power so start with a bigger engine. Engine swaps are a good option if you have a small engine size.

Tuning modifications.

These are the tuning mods are usually installed by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you begin.

Getting the right sports modifications for your planned usage of the car is vital. Stage 3 motor sport parts just don't work well on the road making the car difficult to drive.

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Guide to the Best Tuning Mods & Upgrades

  1. Mods that Remove a Restriction

    If the intake or exhaust are restricted in any way this will have an impact on your cars performance, so use an induction kit/filter upgrade and better flowing exhaust whenever your tuning creates a flow restriction.

  2. Mods that Improve Handling

    Braking, Suspension and general alignment of the suspension components is vital for any tuning project even before you start increasing power.

  3. Fit Stronger Parts

    Tuned cars will show up weaknesses, typically in the turbochargers, clutch and internal engine components. Whilst most engines can cope with mild tuning mods, TorqueCars recommend that you upgrade the internal components before these weak spots manifest themselves.

  4. ECU Tunes & Remapping

    While some cars can be easily remapped, others may require piggyback ECU's or aftermarket ECU's but this is the most vital step of your tuning project as it fully releases the power from all of your mods and upgrades. Expect 10-20% on NASP engines and 30-40% on turbocharged units.

  5. More Power Needs More Fuel & Air

    Every tuning project will aim to increase the air supply, but fuel supply is just as vital and will need to match the air the engine can utilise. Fuel to Air ratio is vital so upgrade the fuel pump & injectors. Also you can look to perform head mods (flowing and porting), bigger valves, fast road cams and forced induction upgrades to improve fuel.

Stages of Tune

Stage 1 mods: Panel air filter, Suspension upgrade (drop 30-40mm), Lighter flywheel, Sports exhaust, Alloy wheels, Remap.

Stage 2 mods: high flow fuel injector, Ported and polished head, Fast road cam, fuel pump upgrades, Power/Sport clutch.

Stage 3 mods: Engine balancing, Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves), Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger), Sports gearbox, Competition cam.

Peak power is all well and good but for a daily driven car you need a wide power band and perhaps extending the rev range.

The point of our hints is to give a limited introduction of customizing upgrades and point you in the right direction, our forum is where you can ask for more detailed advice and tips on your modified car project, the best motorsport mods and all aspects of modding cars.A fast road cam is widely accepted as one of the best NASP power modifications you can do from a single upgrade to your engine.

The intake and exhaust flow play a large part in your cars power band, but be careful here, getting this wrong can upset the idle and make the car hard to drive in traffic. You'd need to follow a camshaft upgrade with other mods and finish with a performance chip to fully realise your gains.

When pushing up the power you will need to pay attention to to the fuelling. More power needs more fuel.

Most power losses, and erratic idling after sports upgrades are done can usually be traced to timing or fuel delivery issues.To get sufficient fuel you may need to uprate the injectors on your engine.

If you've uprated your fuelling with bigger injectors you will also need to get a bigger fuel pump to supply it.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

Now we move on to the intake and exhaust and ensure proper flow through the engine. Please note that WE DO NOT FEEL YOU GET POWER GAINS FROM INDUCTION KITS, unless you have tuned your car a lot and are finding that the standard air intake has become the bottleneck.

Induction kits can work well on turbo engines and larger engines (if supplied with a suitable cold air feed or air box), generally though we'd just recommend for CX3 engines you should go with a performance panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Do not go with the widest exhaust you can find this will reduce the exhaust flow rate - the best for power gains are usually between 1.5 to 2.5 inches. It is the shape and material more than the bore size.

Airflow through the head can be dramatically increased with some professional flowed (porting and polishing). These should match and be setup to take into account any other engine mods. Your clutch can lose you loads of power as you increase the power if it starts to weaken and the standard clutches are only ever good for power gains of up to 43%. Fit an uprated clutch to avoid power loss through the transmission. The best mods in our opinion for your CX3 are Remapping or piggy back ecu, fast road cam and air intake and exhaust.

Turbo engines are just begging to be Upgraded. You will see massive power gains on most modern turbo charged cars including diesels making a remap one of the most cost effective and massive modifications for your money.The most phenomenal power gains for NASP engines usually involve the addition of forced induction. Turbos are usually harder to add than a supercharger. Turbos increase power in increasing proportion to th engine speed and this can make mapping difficult.

The nice proportional boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them simpler to map. Adding forced induction will nearly always require a lower compression ratio or water injection.

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Improving the handling for many tuners first priority in your CX3 tuning project.

If you set the toe out to degrees on the front, and add a small amount of negative camber then cornering will often be enhanced.

Drop the car by as much as 26mm - 36 mm and fit uprated stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

The benefits of alloys include a lower unsprung weight and more efficient brake cooling via the extra air flow they allow. Get a good directional tread pattern tire to improve your handling and help improve traction on your CX3. We'd like to point out although they can look cool on the CX3 big alloy wheels will actually decrease your performance. The larger you go the lower your acceleration will be - this to the change in your effective final drive ratio.

Although some people have gone larger than this without issues we would stick to a 17 inch rim size as the maximum.

There is a more updated version of this CX3 Tuning article on TorqueCars.com.

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss CX3 options in more detail with our CX3 owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Mazda tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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