Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

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Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by warpc0il » Sat Sep 07, 2013 1:56 pm

Please note that while this is a non-intrusive and totally reversible mod, it is not sanctioned by Mazda UK, nor is the Mazda UK Owner's Club or myself responsible for any consequences following the implementation

This information was originally part of the Service Schedule thread but has been moved here for clarity and to add photos and other details.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It should be noted that this Service Schedule is the same as that recommended for markets which don't fit dual (or even single) oil coolers as standard.

Mazda UK choose to include the dual oil coolers for marketing rather than engineering reasons.

While they can keep the oil (and therefore the engine) from overheating in extreme conditions, such as trackday sessions or hard driving in very hot weather, there are two downsides to having them installed.

Firstly, they almost double the quantity of oil in circulation, which isn't in itself a bad thing, but it means that only 55% of the oil is drained and replaced at each oil change, the coolers being lower than the sump and having no separate drain.

Mazda's published (to their dealers) process for changing contaminated oil is to change it twice, running the engine to normal temperature in between; though this would still only replace ~75% of the original oil (half left the first time then half of that left the second time).

My recommendation is to follow that process the first time you change the oil on a used car, especially if the service history is unknown and/or the drained oil is particularly black.

Subsequent changes can either be on the 12.5k mile or 12 month schedule, repeating as above, or much better still to just change the oil every 6k miles or 6 months.

The second disadvantage is that the oil is constantly being circulated through the coolers, there being no thermostat preventing this, unlike the water coolant radiator.

This means that engine warm-up is significantly delayed as chilled oil is being returned from the coolers. Delayed warm-up is bad for the engine, the cat, fuel consumption, heater performance and means that you have to wait much longer each journey before you can safely use the higher rev band, let alone beep.

There is no obvious way to include an oil thermostat in the system, without potentially causing other issues such as old oil being trapped in the cooler matrix.

I have been experimenting with restricting the airflow through the coolers, as reported in other thread in this forum, and my results have been very positive.

In cold weather, say less than 5°C, the oil coolers are totally redundant and only the disadvantages listed above apply. In fact, unless you are making long journeys and/or driving hard or stuck for extended periods in stationary traffic, the oil doesn't get hot enough to dry-out any water condensation and this is why we see mayo on the dipstick in winter.

In warm weather, the coolers can help if you are driving hard, once the engine is up to normal temperature. However, the cooler capacity is still too great and that warm-up is still overly extended.

In really hot weather, the coolers will help maintain a reasonable engine temperature if you are driving hard but, since they have no fans, don't make any real difference when you are just stuck in traffic.

Based on this, I have taken to blanking-off the airflow to both coolers in cold weather, blanking one cooler in warm weather, and only opening the air to both coolers in high summer or for track days.

The results have been very positive with up to an 80% reduction in engine warm-up times, more consistent engine temperatures during a journey and no increase in the instances of the radiator fans being demanded. I now don't get any mayo on the dipstick so the oil is clearly being run at the temperature it was designed to operate. My fuel economy (if you can use that phrase on a Rex) has also improved but there are too many other variables to be able to define a percentage that is down to this mod.

My choice of blanking material may sound a little strange but it has its advantages...

I use a pair of DELL mouse mats, the small thin ones that come free with a DELL system, that are a blue fabric bonded to a diamond-pattern rubber.

They are the perfect size and shape to tuck through the cooler apertures in the bumper and spread across the face of the cooler matrix within its rubber housing.

Black-side out the diamond pattern looks very OEM and they are easy to fit and remove while being secure in all conditions. The rubber is closed-cell so doesn't absorb water and the material is soft enough to guarantee no damage to the matrix. They also provide great protection against damage from flying stones.

Any rubbery sheeting should work, it just needs to be the right shape and able to be folded-up to fix in place while stiff enough to stay put without any additional support.

If you decide to try this for yourself I'm sure you will be pleasantly surprised by how much quicker the engine gets to normal running temperature but I would also recommend that you keep an eye on the temperature gauge, at least for the first few journeys, just in case there is a fault in your cooling system (e.g. blocked radiator, stuck thermostat, seized fan...) that could have been masked by the oil cooling.
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Re: What is The Mousemat Mod"?

Post by warpc0il » Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:26 pm

Fitting the mousemat takes advantage of the design of the oil cooler mounting.

The coolers have a moulded rubber frame around them to direct air from the apertures in the bumper.

Image

These frames can also be used to hold matting and/or protective grills in place across the face of the cooler core.

Mousemat in place
Image

When running with just one mat in place (i.e. most of the year) I choose to fit in the nearside cooler. My theory is that there's more stones etc near the curb and therefore the n/s cooler is more susceptible to impact damage - the mat provides greater protect than just a grill.

Close-up lit with flash
Image

The mat removed - the rounded corners aren't important.
Image

The width, which is just how wide the mat come.
Image

The height, cut down slightly to avoid having to fold over top/bottom
Image

The other side of the mat (normally the top) and showing how thin and flexible it is.
Image

Cooler with mat removed, showing home-made protective grill
Image

Grill removed. It's just a length of plastic gutter mesh folded in half.
Image

Available from lots of outlets from £2.99 for a 5m roll
Image

Long length of plastic gutter protection fitted inside bumper to protect a/c heat exchanger and radiator.
Image

Refitting mat. Just fold up, push through the hole and unfold across cooler.
Image

Push into frame in the corners.
Image

Finally tuck edge behind foglight
Image
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Re: Fitting "The Mousemat Mod"

Post by audiobull » Sat Sep 07, 2013 2:31 pm

nice one Dave. i shall be giving this a go.

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Re: Fitting "The Mousemat Mod"

Post by duckula67 » Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:25 pm

Going to give this a go when the weather gets cold (i.e. next week lol).
A couple of these should suffice:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BLACK-Quality ... 3a7b264448
probably the cheapest and easiest mod you can do I reckon.
Nice one Dave cheers.
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Re: Fitting "The Mousemat Mod"

Post by scitmon » Tue Mar 03, 2015 4:37 pm

anyone thought about fitting an adjustable vent? might be tricky to find one that fits and looks nice, but would make it easily adjustable? :-k perhaps its over engineering too #-o

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Re: Fitting "The Mousemat Mod"

Post by Rx8-Col. » Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:18 am

Finally got around to doing this. Cant believe how easy it was to fit lol.

I would add, in addition to tucking it behind the fog light, there's also two plastic plugs at the top which I tucked mine behind to help hold it in place. I cant see it going anywhere, it's a nice tight fit.

I'm going to give that gutter mesh a go next. Looks great, epically for the price.

Thanks for the guide!
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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by murray_182 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:10 pm

Just did mine today as i had the bumper off to fit a new fog (was missing when i got the car)
I also glued some of the gutter mesh to give it a nicer look.

It was a very cheap and easy mod.

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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by bunch1980 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:33 pm

Meant to say before, but when I got my car off Carl at Hayward rotary last year, he said don't do this.

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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by JoeLanger » Sat Jan 16, 2016 6:08 pm

bunch1980 wrote:Meant to say before, but when I got my car off Carl at Hayward rotary last year, he said don't do this.
How unusal a tuner saying not to block off your oil coolers. *face palm* pretty sure there are thermostats in there

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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by bunch1980 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:47 pm

JoeLanger wrote:
bunch1980 wrote:Meant to say before, but when I got my car off Carl at Hayward rotary last year, he said don't do this.
How unusal a tuner saying not to block off your oil coolers. *face palm* pretty sure there are thermostats in there
Do I detect a hint of sarcasm there? Lol

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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by tractorboy » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:59 pm

The thermostats don't stop the over cooling. Which is odd. I think Phil Bate knows why.

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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by duckula67 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 11:00 pm

Why say not to do it but not give a reason?
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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by bunch1980 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 11:05 pm

Not really said why just not necessary, but I guess if do really short journeys or its very cold can't hurt either.

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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by Rx8-Col. » Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:25 am

All I know is,my car comes on temp quicker with the mat fitted then without.

A worth while mod
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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by bunch1980 » Sun Jan 17, 2016 10:47 am

I guess this would depend on if you have an oil temp gauge to as stock car gauge is for water temp im sure. I am just being careful waiting before I thrash it really not just for when needle has got to middle as it happens quicker than I thought. But as others have said time for oil to warm through is also a factor (recent thread on here somewhere about temps of oil and whens best to thrash etc). On a short run I will not go right to beep zone at 8.5 maybe go to 6-7k and around town thats more than enough to get you going before you hit next car or set of lights lol.
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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by WildMan10 » Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:21 pm

I do the mod each winter. However, I don't think it makes as much of a difference as some claim and do it more because I like the idea of lower cooling drag than for any belief in its benefits.

Note that the oil coolers each have a thermostat fitted - they're the blocks with the silver bolt head on the bottom of each cooler. They work independently and Mazda documents say they allow a small amount of fluid through the coolers when the oil is cold and gradually open with increasing oil temperature until they are fully open at 90 deg C.

When cruising at 70 mph, my oil temperatures are typically 60-70 deg C without the mod and 70-80 deg C with it. The engine seems to warm up more quickly with the mod. My temperatures keep well within limits even when driving hard.
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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by Phil Bate » Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:41 pm

Yes, think of the thermostats of being there more for decreasing oil warm-up time than to fully control the temperature. They do work to that extent.

When you consider there is only one cooler fitted in markets with much warmer climates (Australia for example), and the tendency for oil temperatures here to remain well below 100c during the winter - blocking one cooler is not going to be a problem. Don't block both of them though.

If you find during the winter months you always have condensation on the dip stick and filler cap then you may find this mod will help to reduce it.

Whatever you do however, regular oil changes are a must.
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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by Juey » Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:11 am

...just the one oil cooler on my JDM car - fitted the mouse mat on Friday, took for a drive on Saturday, we were making love by Sunda......aaarrgghhh

I have an oil temp gauge fitted too - with the mouse mat in, the oil temp sat at 95 on a dual carriage way and got to 105 at one point.....is that too high??
(Would usually sit at 85-90 in normal temps once warmed up without the mat.)

Thinking it's maybe not necessary with the one cooler.........
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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by WildMan10 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:52 pm

Just put in half a mat . . . . . . .
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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by Phil Bate » Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:06 pm

If you only have one cooler, don't block it. You already have the next level up from the mouse mat mod.

Conversely for the twin cooled owners, instead of using a mouse mat you can remove one cooler - I believe the fittings allow you to do this without changing anything. A mouse mat is easier however :)
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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by Juey » Tue Jan 19, 2016 12:22 pm

Duly removed again. Ta.
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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by Davred » Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:31 pm

Done mine, really easy to do and results are good for a quicker warm up.

Many thanks for the tip Warpcoil. Nice one. =D>
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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by hachiroku » Sun Jan 31, 2016 2:27 pm

Ordered a mouse mat today, always getting salad cream/mayo/ squeezy cheese (whichever you prefer) on the dipstick and filler cap, interested to see if this mod will help reduce the cheese factory under the bonnet!
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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by warpc0il » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:22 am

There have been some concerns raised regarding Oil temperatures with Mouse Mat installed, specifically...
Having a bit of a spirited drive with one mouse mat installed over an oil cooler, I've noticed that it takes surprisingly little abuse to make the oil temperatures shoot up to rather worrying levels and the long time it takes for it to cool, even with plenty of air flow... while the coolant temperature remains absolutely stable at around 85'C
It does seem counter-intuitive to "downgrade" a component of the car, especially as "everyone knows" that rotary engines run really hot and suffer from over-heating, so why would it be a good idea to remove cooling?

The "everyone knows" is (almost entirely) based on RX7s, which have a larger engine package and twin-turbos jammed within the engine bay, so unsurprisingly can suffer from overheating.

The Mazda engineers were well aware of this and had therefore made provision to enable dual oil coolers to be fitted to the RX8, as an element of future-proofing, in the vain hope that either the factory or the aftermarket would offer turbocharging upgrades. Other components of the car were also over-engineered with this future-proofing in mind.

However, it would appear that actually fitting the dual oil coolers as standard for the UK market, was a Marketing rather than Engineering decision, driven by a desire for credibility as a sports car aimed at the Porsche sector. That could well explain why, when the oil cooler lines started to corrode and leak, it was Marketing Support that had to pay for the dealer checks and replacements.

Don't be too hard on Mazda UK Marketing as it's also thanks to them that we all got Sports Suspension, with the large front brakes, and Climate Control, and Bose, none of which came as standard in other markets.

However, having dual oil coolers does have a downside in our climate and the questions raised regarding oil temperatures are relevant.

Be assured that the oil needs to be running at over 100°C as soon as possible and level out at around 120°C, for maximum efficiency.

Anything less than 100°C and any condensate isn't boiled-off.
Consistently over 140°C and there's a chance that the oil locally within the bearings might be close to breaking down.

The higher reading depends hugely on where it's being measured within the overall circulation.

In the thread quoted above (note that the link will die when the thread expires) the OP did report back that...
So after some more testing, it appears I may have jumped the gun a little, mouse mats and single coolers are okay.

Like you said Dave, I blocked off both coolers and temperatures were completely fine during normal use - noticeably higher on the motorway (130'C sometimes) but keeping an eye on it, nothing to worry about.

Whilst the oil temperatures did shoot up sooner, it did slow down at around 120'C and not get much higher with a single mouse mat.

I even had a couple of minutes playing in the kidney track at Santa Pod yesterday with a mouse mat installed and whilst I wouldn't recommend it, it wasn't as doom and gloom as I expected.
While we're on the subject of engine bay cooling, you may have noticed the rubber blanking sheet fitted to the back of the upper "radiator grill", which is blocking cooling air from passing through the grill into the engine bay. This was added after pre-production testing showed that the engine block, especially on the intake side was being overly chilled by this airflow. To actually justify a production change, the concern regarding this chilling must have been great. We all know that even with the blanking sheet (at least without the mousemat mod) we still get sufficient chilling on the outside of the engine to cause condensation within the oil filler and dipstick tubes.

So, despite what "everyone knows" regarding rotary engines over-heating, don't be tempted to remove the blanking plate - unless you have a turbo/super-charger installed, in which case all bets are off.

Note that the upper "radiator grill" doesn't feed air to the radiator, this is all fed from the lower grill. Relocating the front number plate across the lower grill will reduce airflow to the radiator, which could result in cooling issues, especially as the air-conditioning heat exchanger is mounted across the front of the radiator and takes a chunk of that airflow cooling capacity.
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Re: Fitting "The Mouse Mat Mod"

Post by bunch1980 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:29 am

hachiroku wrote:Ordered a mouse mat today, always getting salad cream/mayo/ squeezy cheese (whichever you prefer) on the dipstick and filler cap, interested to see if this mod will help reduce the cheese factory under the bonnet!
I found this also much improved following an oil change, never had any in the cap but always on dipstick, reminds me need to change my oil again soon!!

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