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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey guys,

Welcome to my 3rd gen build thread!

Happy Labor Day (where applicable)! Now, i can be a bit long-winded & detailed at times lol but I’ll try to be succinct. This build discussion is long overdue tbh. And hopefully with questions & critiques we can advance the convo further along with my progress.

Overview
All in all, I bought her back in fall 2019 after FINALLY finishing college in Dec 2018 and in desperate need of a fun/affordable daily driver. God-willing I hit the jackpot! I even got the technology package although i learned later that the capacitor/battery crap Mazda developed was damn near useless hence its discontinuation and me replacing the OEM battery for a DieHard Platinum AGM Battery. Despite owning her for nearly 3 years, I just started modding sometime in Sept 2021; that first mod was changing the puny exhaust tips and ended up costing me an arm & a leg unfortunately. Following the tailpipes, I never thought I’d do as much as i have done & plan on doing to this car, but I guess i got bit by the bug haha. Fortunately, she still looks amazing (minus MANY scratches/rock chips & barely noticeable dents). Also, much thanks to this community of enthusiasts for helping me during this journey, but it’s not over yet ;)

Pros (IMO)
  • Looks (still one of the more gorgeous sedans on the road today)
  • Curb weight
  • Low end acceleration for a 4-d sedan (ignoring that weird 2nd gear dip)
  • Great handling
  • Paddle shifters/Semi-auto trans (been using them more & more as of late to avoid wasting gas in sport mode)
  • Bose speakers
  • Aftermarket parts/tune available for this car
Cons (IMO)
  • OEM Tire width/wheel gap
  • Cabin noise at high speeds
  • Rubbing at max load in rear (with my current wheel setup)
  • Sometimes my fancy paddle extenders hit my knees (I’m ~6’5”)
  • OEM suspension/body roll & dampening
  • Infotainment (don’t get me started)
  • OEM High speed braking
  • Leather seats + no garage = HOT AF
Current Mods (I’ll drop links if necessary)
  • UPower tailpipes (Amazon)
  • 20% window tints
  • OE Splash guards
  • Wheels: AVID1 AV20 19x8.5 +35 (nearly flush w/fender in the rear) w/StanceMagic Aluminum Hubcentric Rings (Amazon)
  • Tires: Continental ExtremeContact DWS06 SportPlus 255/40ZR19 (love them)
  • 6000K Sealight H11 Fog lights + DMEX D4S 35W Xenon HID Headlight Bulbs 6000K
  • Progress Tech rear anti-sway bar + Moog end links (must-haves)
  • DieHard Platinum AGM Battery
  • A few minimalist & tasteful visual mods/decals & badges
Photos of Sheila

Wheel Tire Automotive parking light Car Vehicle


Car Automotive parking light Vehicle Automotive tail & brake light Wheel


Car Gear shift Motor vehicle Radio Steering part


Wheel Tire Sky Car Vehicle


Sky Building Car Hood Vehicle


Speedometer Gear shift Car Trip computer Vehicle


Car Wheel Land vehicle Tire Vehicle


Wheel Tire Vehicle Car Sky


Wheel Tire Vehicle Car Automotive tire


Wheel Tire Sky Cloud Vehicle


Future Mods
  • OVT (Orange Virus Tune for its NA 2.5L on 87/91, currently in progress)
  • Rear window lip spolier (Amazon) + a simple DIY spoiler lip extension idea of mine
  • Switch back to OE headlights (the DMEX D4S 35W Xenon HID 6000K bulbs are too blue & don’t match the LEDs imo)
  • Headlight restoration/defog (1 failed DIY attempt) + Custom headlight smoke tint (to mask that hideous orange signal light)
  • Bilstein B6 Front Struts + B6 (if possible or B4) rear shocks
  • Rolling rear fenders (zero leads for my area so far)
  • Tires: 245/40ZR19 (sidewall is chunky & rubs sometimes; despite how much i like the appearance it could pose an issue if i lower the car)
  • EBC Yellowstuff brake pads & USR rotors
  • Tanabe lowering springs (maybe but no rush)
  • Wheels: eventually some lighter wheels (sticking to 8.5” to avoid adding unsprung weight) with a similar yet more practical design (I’ve curbed these too many times since the spring) & around a +30 offset for a more flush stance like AdultingSux if i switch to 245/40 tires. I’m torn on this decision :rolleyes:
  • Exhaust: looking at MagnaFlow Street Series Cat-Back (but open to suggestions)
Thanks for taking the time to read my build thread! The first thing I’m pondering is where tf to get Bilstein B6 rear shocks… :unsure:
 

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Welcome, and oh yes I understand the modding bug... (look at my signature :devilish:)

I'd recommend the PowerStop Z23 brake pads over the yellow stuff, they're cheaper and I have yet to feel any fade and they're really low dust for performance pads.

Also, you mention going to Bilsteins, but stock springs? I'd recommend lower springs at least, they're still comfortable and stock ride height on these are so high that a 1" drop just makes it equal with the clearance of an Accord.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry, don't know why the thread needed my approval first.

Great work so far, keep it up!

I got my Bilstein's from ShockWarehouse - their site is meh but they had a good amount of supplies. #1 Shocks and Struts Superstore - Shockwarehouse.com
Thanks! All the advice & research has definitely paid off. And the site you linked has exactly what i need :D

Also, before ordering, make sure you know if you have type A or B rear shock mounts lest you run into what I did: Byakuya's 2014 Grand Touring Shiro Shinobi
I actually came across your horror story recently when i started looking into Bilstein & i want to avoid those issues for sure but I couldn’t tell you what type of rear shock mounts i have lol. I’ll have to reread the forums mentioned or call the Mazda shop I usually go to for more insight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Welcome, and oh yes I understand the modding bug... (look at my signature :devilish:)

I'd recommend the PowerStop Z23 brake pads over the yellow stuff, they're cheaper and I have yet to feel any fade and they're really low dust for performance pads.
Oh I’ve heard the Dan track lore throughout the forums so i trust your judgment with me just being a spirited daily driver :LOL: I’ll consider those as cheaper alternatives and just buy the EBC USR slotted rotors as well since i like their design.
Also, you mention going to Bilsteins, but stock springs? I'd recommend lower springs at least, they're still comfortable and stock ride height on these are so high that a 1" drop just makes it equal with the clearance of an Accord.
Yes, stock for now. I’ve read up a lot on how great Tanabes are, and I really want new B6 shocks & struts for better dampening and sportier handling. But due to my inexperience there’s a lot i had to consider and then prioritize based on what’s practical for me. I don’t want lower shocks (B8s) since the shorter traveling distance could harshen the ride. I’ve heard the modest 1” Tanabe drop is still comfortable, so i can’t imagine the ride with an all B6 combination :alien:

I watched some reviews on B6s & i saw mostly good ones aside that on beemers it raises their ride height slightly (which might be perfect for me since i dodge potholes & bumps for a living damn near). The resistance might make up for my occasional sidewall rubbing even if I lower it with the 255/40 Conts. Plus I’m sure the Bilsteins can handle the slightly higher spring rate more efficiently than my current OEM shocks/struts after 91,000mi. Would it make the most sense to collect all the parts (shocks, struts & springs) and have them installed at the same time? I’d just need to get a quote on the labor from a shop for that vs installing them at separate times.

Btw, I’ve considered switching to 245/40 tires before the Tanabes but i know for a fact I’m not going to like the extra lil wheel gap (although there’s a chance i could increase performance by cutting tire weight). I’d need to flush out the rear using wheels with a wider offset (to avoid spacers) that are simultaneously less prone to curb rash, but alas i can’t afford that rn.

My current priority/to-do list (subject to change):
  1. B6s shocks & struts
  2. Tanabes
  3. Maybe installing all if not separate
  4. EBC USR Rotors (a couple of my OE are already corroding)
  5. Brake pads (EBC Yellowstuff or Powerstop Z23)
  6. Maybe 245/40 tires in replace of my 255/40s (if i run into issues)
  7. New wheels (19x8.5 +30~)
I could also wait on lowering it & just install the B6s + rotors/pads if i don’t want to risk lowering it on my current tires. Personally, Tanabes would probably be eliminated from the top 5 if it came down to it, but my inner perfectionist strives for that aesthetic. Sigh, just trying to figure out what makes the most sense so i can save accordingly :unsure:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Not a con with Centric Rotors and Z23 pads.
I’ve never heard of Centric; do you have a link?

Um, HID is so 2005, why not LED?
I guess just my personal pref shrugs. Aftermarket LED headlights look decent but their range & coverage vs HIDs is debatable. I just want all my front lights to match haha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Future Mods
  • OVT (Orange Virus Tune for its NA 2.5L on 87/91, currently in progress)
  • Rear window lip spolier (Amazon) + a simple DIY spoiler lip extension idea of mine
  • Switch back to OE headlights (the DMEX D4S 35W Xenon HID 6000K bulbs are too blue & don’t match the LEDs imo)
  • Headlight restoration/defog (1 failed DIY attempt) + Custom headlight smoke tint (to mask that hideous orange signal light)
  • Bilstein B6 Front Struts + B6 (if possible or B4) rear shocks
  • Rolling rear fenders (& maybe fronts; zero leads for my area so far)
  • Tires: maybe 245/40ZR19 (sidewall is chunky & rubs sometimes; despite how much i like the appearance it could pose an issue if i lower the car)
  • EBC Yellowstuff brake pads & USR rotors
  • Tanabe lowering springs (maybe but no rush)
  • Wheels: eventually some lighter wheels (sticking to 8.5” to avoid adding unsprung weight) with a similar yet more practical design (I’ve curbed these too many times since the spring) & around a +30 offset for a more flush stance like AdultingSux if i switch to 245/40 tires. I’m torn on this decision :rolleyes:
  • Exhaust: looking at MagnaFlow Street Series Cat-Back (but open to suggestions)
Thanks for taking the time to read my build thread! The first thing I’m pondering is where tf to get Bilstein B6 rear shocks… :unsure:
@AdultingSux what do you think? :)
And did you ever install those exhaust tips??
 

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Thanks! All the advice & research has definitely paid off. And the site you linked has exactly what i need :D



I actually came across your horror story recently when i started looking into Bilstein & i want to avoid those issues for sure but I couldn’t tell you what type of rear shock mounts i have lol. I’ll have to reread the forums mentioned or call the Mazda shop I usually go to for more insight.
It's either type A or B - I have Type A
Motor vehicle Font Engineering Auto part Parallel
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@Byakuya i think I’ve got it, thanks to Google! Hopefully, this means my rear shocks mounts are type A, which makes sense due to how similar 2014-15 models are.
Font Parallel Diagram Cylinder Elbow


However, I’m not sure what this means in relation to the B6s should i attempt to order them from the website you linked in the future…
 

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Would it make the most sense to collect all the parts (shocks, struts & springs) and have them installed at the same time? I’d just need to get a quote on the labor from a shop for that vs installing them at separate times.
Generally it's going to save a ton on labor to do once, since you have to take apart the same stuff to install struts/shocks and springs... but you can see what the shop will quote you
 
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If you have shock studs on the bottom, pull them and replace with the right sized bolt. Youll thank me later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If you have shock studs on the bottom, pull them and replace with the right sized bolt. Youll thank me later.
I think i get what you’re saying but I’m def no mechanic lol so I’ll the technicians know in the future in case they over complicate it. The Bilsteins come with instructions though, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What are the typical aftermarket exhausts people tend to install for these cars other than the Magnaflow Catback? I’d like it to have a more throatier sound without being too loud/ricey & add a few more horses without sacrificing TOO much fuel economy.

I also almost considered a CAI, but what I’ve heard that it isn’t very compatible with the Skyactiv engine & will only drop my mpgs with minimal gains. I’m sure the tune might help with that but ehhh…
 

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What are the typical aftermarket exhausts people tend to install for these cars other than the Magnaflow Catback? I’d like it to have a more throatier sound without being too loud/ricey & add a few more horses without sacrificing TOO much fuel economy.

I also almost considered a CAI, but what I’ve heard that it isn’t very compatible with the Skyactiv engine & will only drop my mpgs with minimal gains. I’m sure the tune might help with that but ehhh…
Corksport, though expensive, has a pretty nice sound that you might be looking for. CAI is more for show and an ever-so-slightly different sound but, honestly, I don't see them being worth it since the intakes on these cars are made perfectly. Save the $150 and put it towards an OVTune which will net you notciable results.

 

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I think i get what you’re saying but I’m def no mechanic lol so I’ll the technicians know in the future in case they over complicate it. The Bilsteins come with instructions though, right?
I dont know.

What are the typical aftermarket exhausts people tend to install for these cars other than the Magnaflow Catback? I’d like it to have a more throatier sound without being too loud/ricey & add a few more horses without sacrificing TOO much fuel economy.

I also almost considered a CAI, but what I’ve heard that it isn’t very compatible with the Skyactiv engine & will only drop my mpgs with minimal gains. I’m sure the tune might help with that but ehhh…
CAI isnt needed, not that they will lower MPG. The stock airbox flows more than the motor can possibly use, check my sig for a free mod if all you want is noise.

For the exhaust, just pull the suitcase and have your local shop fab up a Y and tips, itll barely be louder than stock for a lot cheaper.
 

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What are the typical aftermarket exhausts people tend to install for these cars other than the Magnaflow Catback? I’d like it to have a more throatier sound without being too loud/ricey & add a few more horses without sacrificing TOO much fuel economy.

I also almost considered a CAI, but what I’ve heard that it isn’t very compatible with the Skyactiv engine & will only drop my mpgs with minimal gains. I’m sure the tune might help with that but ehhh…
A tune will do far more than any amount of intake/exhaust will do. (and with the supercharger the tune can mean an even bigger difference, like 30hp...)

The Injen actual CAI (most CAI are not actually...) is great on this car, first because the induction sounds in high rpm from this high compression engine are fantastic, and it gives a hint of extra kick across the rpm range (*note - these ECUs are sensitive and adaptive, so any time you change something, you need to disconnect the battery for a while to reset it so it can re-learn. That's a large source of varying results...). And yes the stock intake flows surprisingly well for OE and I doubt even the Injen CAI adds any measurable peak power gain, more noticeable under peak.

for exhaust just don't remove the resonator (IMO) and you can go have a shop do a custom setup. My son is running a glass-pack replacing stock muffler, a little louder but not bad... Really these engines sound great thanks to the tri-y headers, just replace the gigantic stock muffler and you'll be happy
The corksport one is very nice but also expensive, should be able to have local shop set you up for less
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Corksport, though expensive, has a pretty nice sound that you might be looking for. CAI is more for show and an ever-so-slightly different sound but, honestly, I don't see them being worth it since the intakes on these cars are made perfectly. Save the $150 and put it towards an OVTune which will net you notciable results.

Yea i think you’re right about the intake, plus our filters are super easy to change and somewhat inexpensive without paying for labor. I’ve started the OVT process but I’ve been having a couple minor issues: 1) i have yet to find a straightaway close to me where i can safely hit 90+mph in 3rd gear lmao & 2) I’m missing 3 parameters in the datalogging section (“Intake air temperature 2, Manifold Air temperature, & Primary Wastegate Duty”) based on the OVT manual Rafa sent me. He didn’t reply when I emailed him about those parameters issues, so I’m hoping they won’t affect the tuning process much if i just send him my datalogs anyway.

Also, that Corksport Axel back exhaust might be the winner!! :love: And almost half the price of what i was originally looking at DING DING DING but will i be potentially missing out on any weight savings by not getting the cat back exhaust, which replaces our OE cat?
 

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will i be potentially missing out on any weight savings by not getting the cat back exhaust, which replaces our OE cat?
Negligible. Way more ways to lose car weight easily.
 
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