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Mazda RX-8

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  • mdw1000mdw1000 Posts: 171
    I'm back from vacation and still very interested in the RX-8. I was just wondering if someone could clarify for me the cold weather starting procedure and any issues associated with it. Just wondering how inconvienent it is going to be. I am used to just starting up and going with my truck, so i'm wondering how much of a change I am looking at?

    Thanks!
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    There is no cold weather start procedure. Starts like any normal car. There is a computer controlling things and it does rev to just over 3000 RPM at first, but every car I've ever owned, revs higher for a longer period of time when the weather is really cold.

    However, the shut down procedure is important. Don't shut down the engine, EVER (warm or cold weather), before making sure the water temp is in the middle range and before revving the engine to 3000RPM for 10 seconds and killing the ignition while still at 3000RPM. This shut down procedure insures that all gas is burned up in the engine before shut down. This avoids possible flood issues, which is really super yucky to fix.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    And never EVER touch the throttle when starting. If it's VERY cold (below 0F) you have to be deliberate. That is, you put on the e-brake, shift to neutral (or leave the auto in park), and then when you start to crank it to start you do so until it starts. Do not quit too soon. Start it on the first try! If you "mess about" there is a good chance it will flood. Only an issue when it's very cold, thankfully.
  • mdw1000mdw1000 Posts: 171
    I thought the flood issues had been fixed on this car with some sort of recall/fix to the 05s?

    I've got an offer on an auto grand touring for 24200 if I finance through mazda credit, 1250 more if i don't. Any ideas on whether i'm getting a good deal. Seems good as it is below invoice even without the rebate...
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    If the rates are competetive, that's a great deal. If you can, get them to throw in some better all-season tires to seal the deal, since the dealership makes a lot of profit off of corporate financing/interest on it.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Flooding issues have been reduced, but they can't be eliminated. It's caused by the poor seal in the engine at low RPM (inability to properly move all air and fuel through the engine - some leaks by the apex seals at cranking speed).

    What has been done to fix it is reduction in fuel injected until the engine is actually running (delay of "choke mode").

    I personally have never (knocking on wood) flooded a rotary. I don't start a cold engine and then shut it off before it warms up. I am very deliberate when starting a very cold car. The RX-8 I get to drive has flooded irrecoverably once (-30 deg C day - towed to dealership - free - replace plugs, charge battery, and start once it had warmed up in their shop), and flooded a second time in "cool" weather around -10 C - but after persistance we got it started (5 min of cranking in 30 sec. intervals). I wasn't driving it either time. I don't remember if those floods were before or after the "fix". I think before. That car was one of the first in our area so had all the problems of the early cars. Most of those problems were in the computer programming.

    Just to inform those who want to know, there are ports under the intake manifold that can be accessed that would allow injection of small quantities of oil. This makes unflooding very easy. The modification would involve removal of the plugs currently in the ports (on the side of the motor) and installation of small plastic tubing up to a device (of the modifiers design) that can allow a cc or so of oil to flow into each port. This vastly improves sealing at low RPMs and cleans out the excess fuel. Sometimes the engine will start with just this step. Sometimes the spark plugs have to be changed before it will start. From experience with "older" rotaries.
  • mdw1000mdw1000 Posts: 171
    Got it for 24200! Silver with black interior. Loving this car more and more the longer I drive it! I agree the dipstick is a pain in the butt, but it is livable.

    Do you guys take the engine cover off to check the oil? The sales guy was saying that is the way to do it, but I was wondering if you really need to...

    Thanks for all the help here - I really appreciate it!
  • moadhmoadh Posts: 15
    Yeah u have to remove the engine cover otherwise there would be no way for you to get to the dipstick.. unless you're reallly flexibe ;) but anyway, congrats on getting ur 8.. enjoy it !
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    Awesome! My love affair with my RX-8 AT Sports Package continues. Nothing but fun.

    You got a good deal no question. I paid 2 grand more for less car, back in Sept.
  • duke15duke15 Posts: 161
    Does anyone have access to an order sheet for 2006? I want to make my final decisions and order mine this week. - Thanks
  • duke15duke15 Posts: 161
    Is there an invoice price and an MSRP price for options such as strakes and sat radio? I am using the Costco program and I'd like to make sure I get the extra options for as little as possible. Bunnygirl, how did you handle getting the strakes on the one that you ordered? - Thanks!
  • mdw1000mdw1000 Posts: 171
    I am trying to make sure I do everything proper with this car as far as breakin and the rotary engine go. As far as break-in goes, is this a good list (based off of what i read in owners manual for first 600 miles)?

    - no full throttle starts
    - no hard braking unless absolutely necessary
    - vary engine speed (ie don't use cruise control)

    As far as routine care goes, is this list correct (based on "drivers guide" that came with owners manual)?

    - check the oil level every other refueling
    - Never start and stop the engine; always make sure engine runs for at least 5 minutes
    - if engine was only run for 5 minutes and hasn't reached operating temp, rev the engine to 3000 rpm, let it return to idle, and shut off
    - if moving the vehicle a short distance (such as above), let idle for 10 seconds before moving

    I think I recall tripsec saying he always revs to 3000 rpm for ten seconds before shut off - is this correct? I also recall someone saying they shut off the engine while it is running at 3000 rpm in this situation; that seems contrary to what the manual is saying (return to idle and then shut off). Is it better to do the 3000 rpm rev every time you shut off the engine or only when the engine hasn't gotten fully warm?

    I guess my question is am I safe using the "Driver's guide" info, or is it better to adopt some of the different procedures mentioned here?

    Thanks!
  • mdw1000mdw1000 Posts: 171
    Had my first admirer about 14 hours after I bought the car. Guy walked up to me and asked "is that your RX-8 out there? That thing is awesome!"

    We got to talking and I mentioned concern about snow traction. He said he had had some tires siped and that helped him with his vehicle. I was on my way to my local discount tires anyway to inquire about all-seasons, etc and so I mentioned this to the guy there. I told him I was concerned about snow traction, but that since I wouldn't be using the car for commuting (retired due to medical conditions) I wouldn't be slogging it in the snow all the time or for long distances. Mainly concerned about getting caught unawares.

    He suggested trying the siping on the stock tires (which happen to be dunlops on my car) - said he didn't believe in it originally but had tried it on his car and it had made him a believer. He suggested that if that doesn't get me where I want to be to get a set of snow tires.

    Any thoughts/experience here on tire siping? I did some google searches and a lot of reviews seem to say it is helpful. I went ahead and got them siped for about 35 bucks total. Went ahead and got their warranty/free rotation on them as well, which ended up being close to another 100 bucks, but I figure that will pay for itself in a few rotations. That way if the siping would cause any problems I'd be covered.

    Thanks!
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    My shut off instructions were direct from the dealer after the sell. As best I can tell, the dealers really don't want their new RX-8 owners bringing their new baby back to the shop with an engine floods. I trust their desire not to see me bouncing, over a manual that might not have the latest information.

    I just assumed their "cut the switch while still at 3000 RPM" made sense because the fuel pump would definitely stop pumping gas while the rotors and spark plugs would continue burning the remaining gas. Also, like that it seems to work, as I've never had to crank my RX-8 more than a few seconds, even in really cold weather.

    My 1987 RX-7 was a tough starter at times, although back then I didn't know about the revving to 3000 RPM shut down procedure.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    I bought Avon Tech all season tires from tirerack.com. The cost $139 each. On comparison these tires give 90% of real snow tires and 90% of the performance of stock summer performance tires. Purists think it's crazy to put all seasons on a performance car like the RX-8, but I'm really not a performance type guy as my reflexes aren't that fast anyway.

    Also the Avon Tech have a 360 tread wear number vs 180 for the summer performance. These tires are quieter than the stock summer performance and they get a tad bit better gas mileage. The tread of the Avon Tech's handles rain water much better too; a good thing around Boston's flood prone streets and highways.

    My Avon Tech's have taken me through two big snow storms in Boston. No problems with traction on packed snow, deep slush, ice sheets, nor unpacked snow. Although the unpacked snow running was less than 4 inches and it was necessary to shut off the DSC/TC to get enough power to the rear wheels to spin through.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Manual recommendations:-
    When you shut the engine off at 3000 RPM the plugs stop firing immediatly. The only advantage to doing this is that the engine will "coast down" from 3000 and this will "pump" some excess fuel out of the engine. Still, it's better than doing nothing. You can't even open the throttle when doing this because it's controlled by the computer and closes as soon as you shut off the key (throttle by wire).

    As far as the other recommendations, the most important is to let the engine rev. freely. Remember this is a 9000 RPM engine, and also that rotaries work better at higher RPMs. During breakin you are doing "final machining" of critical engine parts so they work together. This can generate excess heat, so the engineers want you to avoid too much of this excess heat, as it can change the state of the metals, "burn it" so to speak. Full throttle takeoffs are avoided to let the clutch break in properly, for example.

    Tires:-

    The tires the car comes with are summer performance tires. There are two things that make them this - the tread is designed for performance and the rubber is designed to be sticky when warm. Siping will help with wet traction on warm roads but because the rubber is designed to perform when warm nothing you do will improve cold weather traction very much. You need tires designed for cold weather operation, such as Nokian WR (all season performance tires). If you want one tire for all year you will loose some summer traction and some winter traction. It's just one of the caveats of life.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    pathstar wrote: "When you shut the engine off at 3000 RPM the plugs stop firing immediately. The only advantage to doing this is that the engine will "coast down" from 3000 and this will "pump" some excess fuel out of the engine. Still, it's better than doing nothing."

    Hmmm, so does does shutting down while at 3000 RPM actually hurt anything? Or is the manuals method of cutting off after falling back to idle better because the plugs continue burning fuel?

    Not having any start problems thus far has been great.
  • mdw1000mdw1000 Posts: 171
    Do you guys warm up the car for an extended time before driving it? From what I read in the manual and the driver's guide, sounds like 10 seconds of idle or so are enough. But if I understood someone at the dealer right, warm it up for 5 to 15 minutes. But I was asking about the shutdown procedure, so maybe she meant total running time 5 to 15 minutes before you didn't have to worry about the "shut down" rev. She did say the rev before shutdown isn't necessary once the engine is warmed up. Only if you have to shut it down before it gets warm, which is basically what the driver's guide said.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    I believe that the 5 to 15 minutes time would be the time it naturally takes for the car to warm up. Yes, you would be driving the car during this period of time rather than just have it idle in the driveway. Personally, I'd believe a max of 5 minutes of driving to warm the car up but then I'm a loooooong way from Canada.....

    The flooding problem (from what I understand) was mostly a problem of cutting the engine off without it being adequately warmed up. In other words, if you went outside just to back the car out of the garage and then cut it back off again it would increase the chance of flooding the engine.

    I believe the trick of revving the engine to 3k and turning the ignition key to 'off' is only helpful to avoid flooding when the car is not warmed up.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    Rev before shut down clears remaining gas hot or cold I think. It's the design of the engine that needs the 3000 RPM rev.

    My 1987 RX-7 was a real tough starter but dealers never really wanted to admit any problems with anything back then. Some RX-7 owners knew about it, but average twenty year olds like myself never got told. So we suffered with the hard starting 13B.

    Today's RX-8 Renesis engine is similar enough, but now because of the internet, there's an environment for open disclosure of all problems. The rev to 3000 RPM has gotten me start on several 10F degree Maine mornings and this makes the years of suffering with my beloved RX-7 seem worth it now because the RX-8 is so much sweeter.
  • As far as I am aware, you can order satellite radio when you order your car, if you do a special order like I did. I'm not getting satellite radio so I didn't pay a lot of attention. I saw on the pricing guide they had a price listed for fender strakes as being a port installed option. However, it wasn't available when I placed my order. As far as I know, to get a good deal on the strakes, you would have to buy them at the time you buy your car, i.e. sign the papers and pick it up. Even then I think it is up to dealer discretion since it is basically an extra accessory for the car. When I did my order I told them I wanted the strakes and wanted to have them already installed on my car when I get it. I was told they almost always have at least one set in stock, but to double check with them when they notify me it is "released from port" since it would take a week to get them in if they didn't have some in already. (There is always the option of taking their's from the display case if nothing else).

    It appears my ETA is April 17 due to an electronic parts availability issue (they ran out of something) I think that had to do with my Navigation. This is fine by me since my work cut my pay down to $9 an hour from $25 an hour and I can't afford my car on that salary let alone anything other expenses (was told a few months ago the work slow down and shortage was just temporary; it's not and they cut my pay, too). Fortunately, I have a job interview for a new job in the same field at another hospital so I am thinking it is highly likely I am getting it. The position has been available since at least the beginning of December and is listed as "critical to fill" with hiring bonuses. I have the interview next week. They called me within two days of sending my application in. I will still keep my current crap job for a few months part time to get a little cash built up to pay down some other bills so I won't have to work so much to afford everything. I will have to drive to the new job, though, so I will really need my car!!! Currently I work at home.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    My understanding of the manual recommendation is they (engineers) figured there was fuel "pooling" inside the engine when the engine was cold. If you shut it down at idle the fuel just stays there. If you rev. it up it disturbs the pooled fuel and it gets exhausted from the engine. I'm not sure why they don't recommend shutting off at 3000 RPM - perhaps they were worried some would "pop" the clutch and loose control of the car. As I said, it's better than doing nothing and I haven't seen any problems caused by doing it. It has been my operating procedure even with a warm engine.

    As far as warmup, as soon as the oil pressure is up you could drive away. Just don't use a lot of throttle. This isn't peculiar to rotaries, it applies to any high performance engine - any engine even. When the engine is cold the parts haven't expanded to their final size and high power output can cause the parts to wear faster. After a few minutes of driving the engine is at "operating temperature" (the metal parts), and after about five minutes the coolant should be at its' control temperature.

    Another way to look at it is when the temp. gauge is off the cold "pin" about 1/4" you can safely shut off the engine (safely re flooding). If you want to warm up a cold engine I find running it at 2000 to 3000 RPM cuts the time down a lot. Of course it also uses more fuel - tnstaafl (there's no such thing as a free lunch). ;)
  • mdw1000mdw1000 Posts: 171
    Tripsec,

    Did your RX-8 come with the "driver's guide" or did they just start including that recently? That is where they talk about needing to do it for an engine that is not warmed up. I know the service guys in the department at my dealer have been to the special rotary school that mazda has, and the depts opinion seems to be only do it when you haven't been able to properly warm up the engine.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The problem is identical to my old Mercedes, though it will start reguardless since it's an inline-6. :)

    The engine uses oil during operation. The real problem isn't fuel, which mostly evaporates and is easily and almost insteantly burned off, but oil that seeps in and pools over a few hours. So you need to drive it and/or rev it a bit to "blow out" the excess oil in the cylinders.

    My trick is to start it, let it idle until the temp gauge *just* starts to come off of the bottom(about a minute or so), then drive it gently until it gets warm. Works like a charm and no vapor-lock(got carbs that are a bit famous for this, actually), either. Cold oil sits there, pretty much, while warm oil is easy to get rid or or spread around the cylinders. If the injectors or plugs get clogged with gummy oil sediment... oops.

    That said, my car runs like junk for the first 2-3 minutes until all fo the excess oil and crud is gone. Then it's fine all the rest of the day. I suspect this is happening with the RX-8, though it should clear up much faster due to fuel injection and computers. Maybe a minute of bad behavior on really cold days.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    No "driver's guide" in mine. The advice on the 3000RPM shut down is from experienced rotary owners and engineers who've had long experience with rotary engines going back over the decades.

    My RX-8 has never needed more than 2 or 3 seconds to fire up even on 10F degree mornings. I just started to test another shut down procedure to see if the fire up time remains the same.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    My new shut down procedure is very similar to the 3000RPM rev for 10 seconds then immediate cut the switch.

    The new procedure is 3000RPM for 10 seconds, then take my foot off the throttle for half a second, then cut the switch.

    The theory being, that by being letting off the gas first, that a even more of the remaining gas will burn up because for half a second the spark plugs will still being flashing. This probably happened anyway at times under my old procedure just from the random chance that my foot came of the gas before the switch off happen. So I'm not risking any thing new here.

    As time goes on, I should be able to increase the time delay before switch off and then correlate this with the next start up time. If the start up starts to creep up, then I can theorize that any remaining gas is increasing and a finally theory can be published.

    Silly, I know, I know, but college statistical training needs some manner of expression, otherwise why was I pounding that useless knowledge in my head all the years.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    In the rotary engine it isn't oil, it really is fuel (gasoline). In a piston engine excess fuel in the combustion chambers can "leak down" to the oil pan past the rings when the engine isn't running. In a rotary this isn't possible. The path to the oil pan is "up" - that is, into the oil inside the rotor. There is no open path to the oil pan below the rotor housing.

    If you have gasoline inside a cold rotary engine, there is no way for it to evaporate, as there is nowhere for the vapour to go. In winter it wouldn't evaporate anyway, as the temperature is too low. When you try to start the cold engine with excess fuel inside the fuel soaks the spark plugs and they don't fire well if at all. Then the engine starts firing in lots more fuel (because it's in choke mode as it's cold). Now you have a flood. The only way out is to:-
    1. stop the fuel injectors from adding more fuel, (one of Mazda's fixes delayed the fuel injector firing during cold start)
    2. crank the engine to exhaust the fuel already in there, and
    3. fix the spark plug problem.

    The fixes are:
    1. hold the throttle pedal to the floor - this engages a "fuel shutdown" mode that shuts off the injectors.
    2. crank for 30 sec. at a time and let the starter rest (cool off) for a minute between. Hold the throttle to the floor throughout this procedure, otherwise you will end up with still more fuel inside! If you add a cc or so of oil to each rotor housing the pumping out works much better as the oil "finishes" the sealing in the housing. Because #3 requires removal of the spark plugs you can remove them now and add the oil in there - leave them out and you have an extra escape route for the fuel (and excess oil if you added too much).
    3. Clean or replace the spark plugs once you think you have pumped out the excess fuel.

    A flooded rotary will eventually start, be patient, it really will. It will also emit copious amounts of smoke for a few seconds (the excess fuel and oil if you added it will burn).
    In "the old days" we used to use auto transmission fluid, and it REALLY smokes!
  • I'm 6' 215 lbs. Felt very confined in the RX-8. Even my kids felt boxed into the back seats. This car seems to be for smaller drivers. I liked the styling tho. Not the confinement.
  • mdw1000mdw1000 Posts: 171
    I'm actually 5'9" 205 lbs and feel good in the car. However, if I were much taller I don't think I'd have hardly any headroom, so I can see your point. For a 6 footer to fit I would imagine you would have to lean the seatback a bit more.

    I actually fit in this car much better than the Acura TSX, which is a bigger car. The TSX was too narrow for me in the knee area, but the RX-8 fits me great there.
  • mdw1000mdw1000 Posts: 171
    trispec,

    "Silly, I know, I know, but college statistical training needs some manner of expression, otherwise why was I pounding that useless knowledge in my head all the years."

    Ha! This gave me a good laugh! I had a year of statistics in college that I have yet to use...

    Your new procedure sounds basically the same as the "driver's guide" procedure with the exception that you do it every time. Right now I am doing the same thing if I run the car for less than 10 or 15 minutes. Will see how that goes and let you know. So far no problems, and its been in the 30s and 40s F here since i've got the car. Not the coldest weather, but not the warmest either.

    I do notice that in this weather the car warms up quick. Probably won't be quite as quick on those 0 degree F days :)
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