Mike's 2018 CX-9 Signature

sm1ke

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On Dec. 27, 2017, I purchased a 2018 Mazda CX-9 Signature in Machine Grey Metallic. I took delivery of the car on Jan. 4, 2018. Here is one of the first pics I took of the car.


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Over the next few months I did a few mods to make it "mine".


Installed a garnish for the steering wheel.


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Installed a pair of exhaust tips.


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Installed a set of in-channel window visors.


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Upgraded the reverse lights to LED:


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sm1ke

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'18 CX-9 Signature
Upgraded the cargo light in the liftgate:


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Upgraded the rear turn signal bulbs to LED:


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Installed a set of aluminum pedal covers:


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Installed a dashcam:


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Upgraded the license plate bulbs to LED:


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sm1ke

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Installed an oil catch can:


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Installed a rear dashcam to complement the front:


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At this point, I was the victim of two hit and run incidents in the span of one month. One on each side. The car went into the body shop on Nov. 16, and I got it back on Dec. 4th looking like it was brand new.

Pics of the damage:


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Here are the pics fresh out of the body shop:


IMG_20181208_113930.jpg


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A few weeks ago I ordered a set of wheels through a local shop. I stopped by the shop today to get a quick mock up of them on the car and to weigh them (for shits and giggles).


IMG_20181219_161452.jpg


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I'm interested in seeing how much of a weight difference there is (if any) between the OEM 20x8.5 wheels with 255/50/20 tires vs. the new 22x10.5 with 285/35/22 tires.

OEM tire (255/50/20 Bridgestone Ecopia H/L 422+) weighs in at approximately 35.5 lbs. Still trying to get the weight info of the OEM wheel.

New wheel without tire weighs in at 36 lbs. So safe to assume that the new wheel and tire combo will be heavier, but not by too much. I'll be using titanium lug nuts to try and offset the extra weight of the larger wheel/tire.
 

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Okay, so some background info on my wheel purchase. For a while I was a little hesitant on going up to a 22" wheel because I knew it would be heavier than a 20" wheel (this article was very helpful in preparing me for what to expect: https://www.caranddriver.com/features/a15130598/upsized-wheels-tires/). However, the aesthetic look of a larger wheel was a worthwhile tradeoff (to me). I had been trying to decide on which aftermarket 22" wheels I wanted to go with for a while, and one of the reasons I went with the Vossen VFS-2s was because of the "hybrid forged" technology they use to make the wheels a little lighter (each 22x10.5 wheel is 36 lbs). At first, it was hard to justify the price, but when Vossen ran a sale, they brought the prices down so much that it was really a no-brainer when comparing them to the other wheels I was considering (Niche Form at 39lbs and Ace Alloy Devotion at 38.5lbs). For the tires, I went with a 285/35/22 size to keep the overall wheel diameter as close to OEM as possible. I chose Nexen Roadian HP as they worked with my budget and had generally good reviews as an all-season tire.

Now, here's some interesting information. My new wheel/tire set up is actually almost 4 lbs lighter per corner! The OEM wheel/tire setup is pretty heavy. I weighed the Bridgestones when I took them off and each tire came in at 35.5 lbs. Then I contacted Mazda Canada, who told me that the OEM 20x8.5" wheel weighs 39.55 lbs.

One Vossen VFS-2 22x10.5" wheel with Nexen Roadian HP 285/35/22 tire weighs 71.2 lbs, which isn't great, but it's not bad either.
The OEM 20x8.5 wheel and the Bridgestone Ecopia HL 422 Plus 255/50/20 tire weighs 75 lbs!

I'll also note that while a 3.8 lb difference per corner doesn't seem like much, it's a reduction in unsprung weight. This should equate to a very slight increase in mileage and, most importantly, a small improvement in handling (especially when you consider the wider tires). This was a nice surprise, since I was expecting the new setup to be heavier than OEM, which would have resulted in a slight decrease in mileage and slightly more sluggish acceleration. Note that this is all speculation, based on what I've read/heard from those who made the switch to a lighter wheel setup on other cars.

Anyway, I had refurbished Mazda TPMS sensors installed, had the tires mounted, and got the wheels balanced this weekend. They're now sitting in the basement waiting for the summer. Eventually I'll get around to applying the ceramic coating (and will probably document the process and post a How-To at some point). No rush as I've still got 2-3 months of winter to get through.


 

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Also, for reference, here's a photo that shows the clearance between the inside edge of the OEM wheel/tire (20x8.5 +45, 255/50/20) and the strut assembly.



I used this website to plug in wheel/tire specs. It tells you useful information like how much more/less outboard the new setup will sit compared to the old setup, or how close the new setup sits to the strut assembly. My particular setup will sit 10.4 mm closer to the strut, which should be perfectly fine based on the photo I took (which appears to have 20-25 mm of space to work with).
 

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I'm still waiting on the custom center caps I ordered from Vossen, but I think I'm happy with the way the wheels look on the car. Here's a few pics. Based on the last photo, I want to add 5mm spacers to the rear to push them out a tiny bit more to match the front. IMO a 10.5 width with a +30 offset is just a hair too aggressive for my tastes, but I can work with it :)





Wheels are Vossen VFS-2 in 22x10.5 +30. Tires are Nexen Roadian HP in 285/35/22.

I really want a 1-1.5" drop now.. yeah yeah, I know, "it's an SUV", but I'll be damned if I don't make it my own, lol.
 

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Installed the CorkSport air intake yesterday. Quick comparison of the sound:


The first couple of clips are WOT pulls with the OEM airbox (I was testing traction with the new tires and TC off and on). The second clip is regular acceleration with the Corksport intake installed.
 

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A couple of months ago, I took a couple of post install pictures of the wheel to suspension clearance with the new wheel setup, and I forgot to post them. I figured these photos might help someone who wanted to push a more aggressive wheel setup.

For reference, this is the front clearance between the OEM suspension and 22x10.5 +30 wheels wrapped in 285/35/22 tires.




And this is the clearance in the rear, between the OEM shock and the same wheel sizing above.




You can see that there's room to go even wider in the rear. I think I would be comfortable going to 11.5 +35 in the rear. That would give me the same flush look I have right now (10.5 +30 with 5mm spacers, effectively 10.5 +25) while being able to run a wider tire. However, I wouldn't do that because I prefer a square setup over a staggered setup. A square setup is just easier to rotate/maintain.
 

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