That is my current mode of thinking as it pertains to the tuning and modification of my Mazdaspeed 3. There is something that every gearhead agrees with; the pursuit of performance gains. It is the reason why we spend our weekends in the garage, spinning wrenches and spending dollars in the chase for horsepower. Usually that involves some flashy new performance piece that just screams “racecar” but sometimes the less glamorous acquisitions can help us achieve the gains we are striving for.
My car is a model year 2010. It is now 2017. The stock rubber couplings for the intercooler have seen their share of heating and cooling cycles and (stock) boost levels. The stock couplings were kinda soft to begin with, but over the years the work takes it toll; what was once just soft, has now become softer. Or in some extreme cases, what was once soft, has now dried out and is starting to crack. Anyone who has owned a turbocharged car and has old rubber lines knows that leads to one thing.
Boost leaks. Annoying, horsepower robbing, boost leaks.
As I am still in the early stages of my quest for increased boost, I decided now was the time to address some small issues before they became large. With the addition of a better flowing intake and a slight increase in boost pressure, I figured it would be a good time to take a look at replacing the stock pieces.
Boost tubes are available from a number of sources for the Mazdaspeed 3/6 platform. Corksport, James Barone Racing, Street Unit, and MAPerformance all offer silicone replacements for the stock rubber units. I decided to order a set from SURE Motorsports (http://www.suremotorsports.com), they call their couplings Charge Tubes. I also ordered a silicone return line for the recirculator valve, the SURE Return. They also offer silicone vacuum hose in various diameters and lengths; I picked up 3 feet of 4 MM hose for some upcoming projects.
Shipping was pretty quick (and free!!), and in two days I was greeted with a box on my doorstep. Everything was packaged nicely in their own bags, and SURE threw in some freebies as well. There were some info cards describing some of their new products, a lanyard (love these for keys), a business card, and a fridge magnet. No stickers, though.
The SURE Return hose came packaged in a retail bag and was sporting a card that claimed it was checked for quality assurance. I was surprised as it also came with clamps, quelling a fear that I forgot to order some and would have to put my project on hold until they came. Comparing it to the stock rubber return hose, the SURE unit is beefy. Where the stock unit was soft, the SURE Return line had notable stiffness.
The SURE Charge Tubes came with clamps as well, but no retail packaging. They were sealed in a large zip-lock bag with a set of clamps. When I opened the bag the clamps were in, I was surprised to see that they were not T-band clamps. Instead SURE uses their own style of clamps they refer to as their Stealth clamps. They are a worm-gear style clamp that uses extra wide bands to ensure sealing, and an inner liner that keeps the worm-gear from biting down into the silicone as you tighten them. Like the SURE Return, the Charge Tubes are much thicker than the stock rubber units and stiffer. I feel more confident raising my boost p.s.i. installing these, than trying to continue on with the stock units.
Finally, the vacuum hose comes in the same blue color (multiple color options exist, but I am working with a theme here), and offers the same kind of rigidity over the worn stock vacuum line that is currently on the car. I could go into more detail why I bought this, but that would ruin the surprise of a future modification!!!
All in all, my initial reactions to the quality of the SURE Motorsports Charge Tubes and Return line are very positive. Going forward I will have the peace of mind that my couplings and vacuum lines will be up to the challenge of my increase boost and performance increases as I continue my project.
If you are curious about their installation, make sure to check out the SURE Motorsports Charge Tubes Installation video here on the site!