Mazda MX3 Tuning

"Thank you for reading this Mazda MX3 tuning article."

Produced in 1991 with an 8 year production run, the MX3 has many fans out there, and rightly so as it was a great car.

The V6 engine was one of the smallest and highest revving units around, and pulled really well.

It's worth noting that the JDM versions made more power than the US import versions.

The MX3 is a good car tuning project to execute. Take your time and research MX3 tuning to save yourself making the usual tuning mistakes we frequently hear people complain about.

Tuning tips and articles

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

Handling/Suspension upgrades

Many MX3 owners uprate the handling of their cars with suspension modifications as a priority, this will certainly increase your enjoyment of the car.

Good suspension tweaks that dramatically benefit handling for the MX3 include a couple of degrees negative camber and 1-1.5 degrees of toe out on the front wheels.

Drop the car by as much as 27mm - 36 mm and fit performance stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Turning our attention to the MX3's engine we need to get a bit more power out of the top end.

MX3 make good sleepers if you debadge them and fit the most powerful engine upgrades and handling mods you can find!

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.

Engine tuning mods.

This list of the stages and motorsport upgrades are usually carried out by our members, decide how far you want to push your car before you get going.

Getting the correct grade of tuning modifications for your planned usage of the car is a time and money saver. Stage 3 motor sport mods just don't work well on the road hard to control in slow traffic.

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

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

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

Power mods.

  • 1.5 L B5-ZE I4 (Autozam AZ-3) DOHC (JDM only) 81kw @6500rpm  127nm @5500rpm
  • 1.6 L B6-ME I4 SOHC 88 hp (66 kW) @ 5,000 rpm 98 lbft (133 N⋅m) @ 4,000 rpm
  • 1.6 L B6D I4 DOHC 109 hp (79 kW) 137 Nm 101 lb-ft
  • 1.8 L K8 V6 DOHC 130-135 hp (97 kW) at 6,500 rpm  115 lbft (156 N⋅m) at 4,500 rpm

There was 2.5 V6 the KL-DE which makes a good candidate for an engine swap if you wanted a NASP engine.

Your aims when tuning should be a nice flat torque curve. You don't want all the power to be at the top end unless you are creating a motor sport car.

In this article we shall give a limited introduction to the best upgrades for your car, but we'd encourage you to spend some time on the site looking into the details of each type of performance modification.A fast road cam will be one of the best NASP power mods you can do mechanically to your engine.

The intake & exhaust durations 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 reflashed ECU to fully release the power gain.

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

If you find you get flat spots and surges after your sports modifications you should check the fuelling and try a higher octane fuel as well. To get sufficient fuel you may need to improve the injectors on your engine.

Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned MX3s uprated injectors.

Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust. Air induction kits only help to increase power if the air intake is struggling! Adding an induction kit to most stock engines will see NO LOW END POWER GAIN AT ALL. If you have heavily modified your engine and it's need for air INCREASES DRAMATICALLY then an induction kit is the answer and will help remove this restriction.

For most MX3 engines TorqueCars would suggest you just go with a washable panel air filter. On heavily tuned engines and turbo vehicles an induction kit will help release the power providing you address the problem of supplying cold air.

Sports exhausts generally help improve air flow through the engine but avoid an exhaust that is too big or you may end up will reduce the flow rate. Stick to 1.5 to 2.5 inches as a rule of thumb.

Head work including a gas flow and 3 or 5 angle valve job will really help to release the potential of the engine. A good fast road sports clutch will help to keep that power going where it should. Never make false economies or think that the standard clutch to cope. The best mods we recommend for your MX3 are fast road camshaft, remap, induction and exhaust, suspensionTurbo engines are just pleading to be Reprogrammed. You will see phenomenal power gains on most modern turbocharged cars including diesels making a remap one of the most cost effective and phenomenal modifications for your money.

We've also come across some owners playing with twin charging conversions and making some very high power figures.

Adding forced induction will see phenomenal power gains but this is usually too expensive to be cost effective. Superchargers are generally easier to add than turbos. With a turbo the power curve is related exponentially to the engine speed making it more challenging to map.

The nice correlating boost and rpm characteristics of the supercharger make them easier to map. Alternatively you could fit water injection to control knock.

Alloy wheel upgrades.

The benefits of alloy wheels include reducing your unsprung weight and better brake cooling via the extra air flow they allow. Get a good track legal slick tire to improve your handling and help improve traction on your MX3. Please note although they can look cool on the MX3 large alloys 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 with bigger wheels without issues we would restrict ourselves to a 16 inch rim size as the maximum.

For more information on Tuning your car please join us in our friendly forum where you can discuss MX3 options in more detail with our MX3 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.

There is a more updated version of this MX3 Tuning article on

Please help us improve these tips by sending us your feedback in the comments box below. We really like hearing from our readers, and hearing about which mods were the most effective for them, it helps us improve our recommendations and articles to reflect current trends in modifications and ensures that our guides and tips are kept up to date.

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