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Mazda RX-8 Care & Maintenance

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  • 2004 RX-8 with 25,000 miles. Noticed really loud/bad thumping noise coming from rear of car/rear axle. Progressivly worse as speed picks up. Tires are fine with 32 PSI in both rear tires. I did rotate them also but the noise and thumping vibration continue and actually seems worse now. Any ideas? Maybe bad rotors? I have no issues when breaking, no scraping, no thumping, no problems at all, just when driving do I hear the loud noise and feel the vibration. Not too bad at slow speeds but from 40 mph up its really bad. I do not drive this car very often and am getting concerned with all the little issues I have had with it (CEL on 3 time in 6 months, the AC turn knob broke off, now this really bad thumping noise from rear of car).

    Thanks!
  • mdw1000mdw1000 Posts: 171
    Hmm, I'd take it in and have it looked at. I'd say look under the rear suspension and see if anything is obviously disconnected. Not sure if a broken endlink from a sway bar or something could do that.

    I'd also say to check your differential fluid level. I've never done it on this particular car, but on my old truck you basically just stuck your finger in the fluid fill hole and it was supposed to be filled up to a little below the hole.
  • leschlesch Posts: 3
    I own 2 MazdaRX8's both 2004, one is black with black/red leather interior, the other is black on black leather, saying I am a car nut is putting it lightly LOL My husband is 6 ft. 5 inches and he does not fit into my car well, which further makes it mine, mine, mine !!

    Anyway as 2004 was the first year they were produced (please correct me if I am wrong) they will both be collector cars in the future, both are fully loaded 6 speed manuals with everything but navigation, I just don't like the look of it personally.

    But this past September my car really proved it's worth in gold, I was sitting at a stop light in Golden, CO (a great little town if you ever decide to visit, we were there on vacation) waiting for a green turn light, there were two lanes of traffic to my left that were stopping for their red light, the lane to my immediate left was full, the lane to the left of that was empty, they were on a small incline, there was a stop light 1/2 way down their hill for pedesterian walkway and then your regular stop light at the top of the hill. When my light turned green, the lane to my left stopped and I proceeded, I was the first car in a line of about 5 cars waiting to turn, as I made my turn and was 1/2 way through the intersection I saw headlights coming at me in the lane that had been empty, I realized we were going to get hit as I could not go backwards as there were cars behind me and if I went forward she was going to hit my rear quarter panel and I had a full tank of gas, so I crammed my foot on the brake as hard as I could and told my passenger to hang on, laid on the horn but it did no good.

    She hit me and pushed me 3 ft into the intersection further, crushing my left front fender, breaking my A-Arm, bening my front suspension bar, crunching part of my front door, cracking my front bumper and that is all I could see at the time of the accident of course there was more damage that I could not see.

    I could not get out on my side and that is probably a good thing as I was plenty mad and would probably have ended up in jail had I been able to get out, there were tons of witnesses that saw her run the red lights and hit me, she was going about 35 miles an hour when she hit me, she ran the red light half way up the hill and the one at the top of the hill, as she was driving a big SUV she received only a scratch on her bumper but we were lucky that she did not run right over us.

    I was amazed at how well my car took that hit, of course we had our seatbelts on (she did not) but we both walked away with bruises (on me from my knees hitting steering column) and sore necks, but it could have been much worse, I am a nurse and I have seen accidents of 5-10 miles an hour and have patients in serious to critical condition.

    I was more mad then anything else, I had only had this car for 6 weeks, I bought it from a military guy who was too tall to drive it and it had 5000 miles on it when I bought it and had never even seen the rain ! She sobbed to the female policewoman that she was not "concentrating on her driving as she was going through a rough divorce and the policewoman felt sorry for her as she had just gotten out of a bad marriage herself, so she ticketed her for only running one read light, not speeding (speed limit was 10 miles per hour), not for running the first light for a total of two, not for not wearing her seatbelt (which she admitted to) not for having an expired drivers license, not for not have a registration and finally not for not having proof of insurance.

    I had everything the policewoman asked for and here I was out of state visiting. So I asked if I could charge her a ticket as a citizen, which I did, she ended up in court and ended up loosing her license as this was just one of a long string of problems with this gal and tickets. I am sorry but why do most of us do the right thing and carry the right documentation and then someone hit you like this and have nothing they are required by law to have?

    But what I wanted to convey to this forum is how impressed I was and even the tow driver was with how well my car took this direct hit, so not only is the Mazda RX8 a great car to drive, fun to own, an unusual car on the road (you rarely see them in my area), a truly beutiful car, it is a well made and unbelievably safe car to own and drive.

    I do have one question though, I have been using 5/20 oil, but have read about "Royal Blue" oil, have gotten several accounts that it is better for the car, makes it run cleaner, and lasts longer, does anyone have any other information abuot this oil? Any help advice would be greatly appreciated, I check all fluids every 300 miles and do not intend on inviting trouble by ignoring my cars needs, but am always interested in learning about something new.

    Thank you very much and happy ZOOM ZOOM....
    Pam :shades:
  • 4_my_84_my_8 Posts: 10
    i believe the oil that you're refering to is Royal Purple. BTW... there's a grand discussion about this on the rx8club forum. general consensus is that synthetic oil (which Royal Purpe is) is not good for the rotary engine. Once again, to each is own. From my understanding, synthetic oil caused rings in the pre-Renesis engines to go bad. Mazda claims that they have used better materials for the O-Rings in the Renensis engine but also disclose that they have not done any long term testing with synthetics so they do now recommend using synthetics. my advise to you... refer to your bible (Owner's Manual) and choose an oil that meets the criteria listed there. I'm a believer in synthetic oils for piston engines however, i'm not going to go against the folks at Mazda since they haven't done long term testing and I myself don't have the money or will to conduct my own long term test should things go wrong and muck up this sweet engine. i use Castrol GTX 5w20 religiously. i have a N/A engine and have no need for synthetics at this time. just my .02. BTW... if you like debates here's the link the the discussion on the RX8 club forum. Be prepared for a lot of back and foward but hopefully you'll be able to draw your own conclusion. http://www.rx8club.com/showthread.php?t=52856

    Happy Reving!
  • leschlesch Posts: 3
    Yes I meant Royal Purple, not sure why I said Blue, must have been concentrating on something else when I wrote that, I knew it was called Royal Purple and as I have done some reading on this, I don't feel that a synthethic oil is the way to go until Mazda does their own testing and reveals their opinion, as I certainly don't want to do anything to harm my car's engine nor do I want to void my warrenty, thanks also for the link to the discussion, I will definately check it out. I simply can't imagine why anyone would take a risk if you are not sure of a positive outcome. Oh well, it is a beauty of a day and I am off to run some curves.. :shades:
    Thanks again,
    Pam
  • Honestly guys I'm looking for a good value sports car and the RX8 fits the bill but geez does the calendar turning from '06 to '07 or '07 to '08 magically make all these engine/drivetrain problems (design flaws) disappear? There just does not seem to be any end to these RX8 problems followed by Bandaids from Mazda that really do not address the issues.

    Are the 07/08's trouble free?

    Should I wait for a new model replacement (is one even planned by Mazda) or just completely cross it off my list and move on to a Miata or another marque?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
  • leschlesch Posts: 3
    Hello: I am the proud owner of an 04 RX 8. This is my second one, and I love both of my cars, the first one I bought new right off the showroom floor and the second one had 600 miles on it when I found it.

    I do not feel the car it be inherently flawed, to be honest with you the first problem I encountered was the cold start problem, but that problem is easily solved with just remembering to treat the car right, to me it is no different then having a physical problem with your own body, you just have to be conscious of it and remember not to do it. The only other problem I have had and this was a recall was the CD going out, which was replaced under warrenty.

    I love my cars and would not drive anything else, I have chosen to keep my 04's instead of upgrading to a newer model simply because 04 was the first year they came out and to me that makes them very special. What you have to mainly understand about the RX 8 is that it has to be driven as it was made to be driven, as a sports car and yes that means getting out there and really driving it, not treating it as you would a touring car or a traditional family car as this is not what it was built to do, it was built to go and go it will.

    No I would never use a synthetic oil, not only because it will void the warrenty, but also because if you understand how the engine works you will see that it is not an appropriate product to use with this car, that said, I guess you will just have to make your own mind up, no car is perfect, just as no person is perfect, you have to take the good with the bad as with any vehicle on the market.

    I have always loved cars and took shop and auto when other girls took home ec class, my car also fits me, I am only 5 ft. 5 inches tall, and my hubby is 6 ft 5 inches, it is NOT a car made for tall people, the pedals are also not made for someone with big feet, what this does for me, is that it makes my car ALL MINE !! LOL

    Don't know if any of this info will help you in your decision, I would say that if you have this many doubts now, that if you were to choose to buy one you might spend more time finding faults with it then you will enjoying it (sorry if I am wrong about that, as I do understand your concerns especially after reading about the problems some people have had) but if you consider the problems most have had they can be explained to what the owner has or has not done to and for the car.

    I will say one thing, it is not a car for winter driving in the snow and ice, it simply is not, but on good days in the winter time there is no better way to take out the winter blues then to get out there and enjoy a drive in your RX 8 !!. I wish you the best of luck, make a list of pros and cons, and then let your conscious be your deciding factor.

    Also, if you are a family man, although the car comfortably seats 4, in my humble opinion it is not a car to haul kids around in, but that is just my opinion, there are many owners who do so, I just preferred to wait for my dream car (s) until my kids were grown and on their own. My cars are black with red/black leather and black on black(leather interior also) I will say I get allot of envious looks, and some odd ones as a woman behind a wheel of such a great car, my car is a 6 speed also, would not have it any other way as I find automatics boring and to me an automatic RX 8 defeats the purpose of the car (again just my opinion). It will be interesting to see what other responses you get, again good luck and if you do decide to get one, ZOOM ZOOM and have fun.
  • With a dedicated set of snow tires, the RX-8 is the best handling rear wheel drive car I've ever driven in the snow, and I've driven many.

    The 50/50 weight balance, limited slip differential, fantastic traction control and electronic stability control all keep this car amazingly confident and planted in even deeper snows (nothing crazy given the ground clearance - up to 6" ON THE ROAD), as long as you pick a snow tire with a relatively aggressive tread - Blizzak, iPike, Nokian WR, Michelin X-Ice, Dunlop Wintersport 3D, Goodyear Eagle Ultra Grip GW3 - or something similar.

    Also, you should go from the 18" wheels, with the 225/45/18 tires to the 17" wheels, with a 215/55/17 snow tire for winter driving - a narrower tire increases the PSI of the car displacement over snow, and increases traction.

    The RX-8 is a blast to drive in the snow. Completely controllable, confident and very good stopping distances with the very effective Mazda anti-lock braking system.

    Dedicated snow tires make a NIGHT & DAY DIFFERENCE!!! :D
  • xd2xd2 Posts: 1
    Hi johncalifornia!

    im actually in the market for an RX-8 myself (2004 with 40 000K) and my biggest concern is that of the oil. Now down here in Canada, where the weather can be very cold and harsh, you don't see a whole lot of RX-8 especially in the winter. But for the most part, im concerned about the oil consumption. A mazda mechanic told me you must verify the oil at least once a week which is fine by me. However, he couldn't specify if that meant that i was likely to add oil every week of if the verification is only for precaution. What im asking here is at what frequency in a months time of daily driving will you need to actually put oil in the engine??

    Thank you in advance!

    XD2
  • I'd put oil in about every three or four weeks to keep it topped off. My 2005 RX-8 AT drops a third to half a quart every third or fourth gas fill up. On the dip stick to first line is half a quart. I fault myself if I don't catch it before it gets to that first line especially in the summer.

    On gas I city drive mostly and get 17MPG on full auto non-aggressive style. When I paddle shift aggressively MPG goes to 12.

    In the winter, here in Massachusetts, I don't worry so much about that first line as much.

    One good thing, on the pure highway trips I take down south, there is very little oil usage.
  • mikemartinmikemartin Posts: 205
    I get a consistent 282 miles to the tank, using 13.5 gallons to fill up, with a mix of 50/50 city and highway driving.

    And I do not baby the car. Driving the rotary hard is literally preventative maintenance. The harder you drive it, the longer it will last and the stronger it will get.

    Do some research and you'll see that this is demonstrably proven.
  • mcusmcmcusmc Posts: 7
    I own a 2006 Winning Blue auto RX8 and love it. Has anyone upgraded their GPS system and what is involved? Price, etc? How often is a new disk available? I have ended up in a few parking lots recently, and one back yard. :confuse:
    LOL. Thanks for the great forums everyone.
  • psfod3psfod3 Posts: 63
    I have a 2007 RX-8 with 21,000 miles on it. I was in the dealer today for a oil change and they suggested that I replace the cabin air filter. I declined to do it today because I looked all through the owners and service manuals that came with the car and there was absolutly no mention of a cabin air filter for this car. Was the dealer just making this up.
  • Hi folks. I've not been here in awhile. Thought I'd update this little forum with some practical wisdom.

    My Check Engine light went two nights ago in downtown Boston. I had been tweaking my parking spot right in front of the Boston Ballet building, trying to make sure none of the Bostonians, with their "bumper banging" parking technique, banged into my RX-8.

    After several starts and stops, with the engine warm, where I revved to 3000 before shut down, my "Check Engine" light lit up. I instantly grabbed the manual, and it seemed that the most likely issue was a sensor problem, caused by my starts and stops. I drove home slowly and thought the issue would disappear by morning. It didn't. So I drove to the dealer.

    The dealer charge me $95 to plug the system up and have the computer tell me that an Error #22, which is the SSV out of spec error. It tested fine at the dealer, but it'll be $700 to replace if it occurs again. Here's hoping it was my stop and stop parking that caused it.

    In the mean time, they also found that both of my engine mounts had gone. They said mine had lasted ten times longer that anyone else's.

    Over a year ago, a cold engine vibration had started, but I had just put up with the vibration because it went away once the car was warmed up. Well, that vibration was the bad engine mounts according to them. So I had been driving around without good mounts for a long time. I must have had my car for service and oil changes half a dozen times during that time and they never checked the mounts. Ugh!

    Anyway, $525 to replace both mounts, $95 to diagnose a potential future problem. An entire year of driving around with a potentially dangerous engine mount flaw.

    Here's the wisdom. An RX-8 AT when idling, cold or hot should ALWAYS be purring, not harshly vibrating. An RX-8 MT, when engaging the clutch, cold or hot, should ALWAYS be silky smooth, right up to the stall point. Otherwise, check the engine mounts!

    Still lov'n my sweet ride. Did my fourth 2000 mile Boston to NC beach run. Two 10 year olds, my wife and I. Listen'ed to Harry Potter all the way done. Fantastic way to travel, by RX-8. I still feel just like Harry Potter on his Nimbus 2000 and his Firebolt, every single time I drive my RX-8 AT. I so love my car....

    I don't really even care about the $600 bucks anymore, because she's driving like new again... so nice and smooth.
  • grinningrinnin Posts: 13
    Hey Trispec - good to see a post again from a fellow Bostonian. My 2004 MT GT is still zooming along wonderfully (36K now) except for one setback (which of course happened on a parkway just outside NYC so I was nowhere near home) The heat shield over the catalytic converter corroded off and started hanging by the wires leading to the O2 sensor bouncing along under the car. Well, I didn't know that at the time so when I yanked the loose shield off I severed the wires and the car shut down due to O2 sensor failure. Oooops. New heat shield and O2 sensor was about $400 at a dealer in Yonkers NY. Not too bad. We have also become a 2 mazda family this summer with the addition of a 2006 Madza3s. My wife even wanted a manual tranny after driving the RX-8 so much. I am sure I will need to start replacing some exhaust and brake items soon, but the car has really been fairly trouble free for me (all the more surprising since the 2004s seem to have had the most issues) It has always started just fine for me on the coldest days. Sometimes I only add oil once in the 3000 miles between oil changes. And, I drive it pretty much whenever I want even in the winter with high perf. all seasons on it. Not sure what all the folks mean when they say you have to make compromises to drive a pure sports car. I find my RX-8 perfectly tractable in all driving conditions except a raging blizzard. 5+ years later and I still drive with this HUGE grin on my face. Can't believe how enjoyable my car is.
  • PLEASE, tell me what you are doing to get that kind of mileage out of your RX8. I get about 210 per tank. You did say 50/50 in city and on highway. I did notice better mileage when I had to commute to work from my folks house for a week (I was house-sitting).

    LOVE MY CAR. I have no issues at all. It's a 2004 GT 6-speed with 25,000 miles on it (yeah, 5 years old with that kind of mileage). The engine is still under warranty until 11/2010. I use cheap dino oil, as suggested in many forums. It loves to be "rode". I check the oil once a month, I let it warm up for 60 seconds when the day first starts and I make sure to red line it twice a week so everyone involved remembers what this relationship is all about.

    My next car will, probably, be another slightly used RX8. I've had it for 7 months and still can't believe it's mine.
  • I hate to admit this, but I feel prey to the eye candy and responsiveness of the Mazda rx8. I have recently purchased a pre-owned 2004 rx8 with about 80K miles on it. Love the car. However, I appear to be experiencing the same problems as many other '04 rx8 owners. I am looking for some experienced advice as I have been provided with conflicting instructions so far.

    The check engine light came on about 1 month after purchase. Although it felt like it was going to stall it didn't, and I took it immediately to the dealership where I purchased. They were not aware of the starting procedures and managed to flood the car and were not able to get it started. In trying to get the car started again, they informed me that there was low compression and that the engine was shot. Shortly thereafter they notified me that they had gotten the car running. One month after the car home, the check engine light is on again. At this point, the car is not exhibiting the stalling issue. I took it to a different dealership, and they too informed me that there is a compression issue.

    My confusion is that I have read many posts saying that compression may not be the issue? Additionally, I have been told that the car needs to be revved slightly prior to turning off the car, and then told that is nonsense and does not need to be revved?

    Are there any experienced rx8 owners that are willing to provide some insight to a rx8 newbie? Any would be greatly appreciated.
  • seapalseapal Posts: 6
    i am buying a new 2009 rx8. i live in the DC area. i know they need performance snow tires for snow/ice traction and i should go down to 17". Any recommendations on where to buy tiire/wheel packages and is online better than local shops or does shipping and installation costs defeat the online store prices? And any snow tire and wheel recommendations? thanks to all the informative posts on winter driving already.
  • Crazy talk man. You don't need snow tires in DC. Cheap all seasons are perfectly fine for your current 18" rims. Going to 17" rims will kill your tire pressure sensor. Tire pressure sensor is much more important than snow tire.

    I live in Boston. Even here snow tires really are not required. My cheap all seasons handle 4" of fresh snow. The traction control and LimSlipDif handle the slippage. Snow tires might handle slip better, but the car bottoms out at 5" so nothing will help with that.
  • seapalseapal Posts: 6
    thanks. so many postings on this and other blogs are from owners in real snow country it's not clear if i need them for the occasional 1 inch snow/slush or it All Season Performance tires will work. what i do know is that the stock low pressures won't keep me and my family safe. so while most of the winter in DC is cold temps we only get average 2-3 snowstorms per winter of 1-3 inches. most driving is just on freezing pavement. All seasons or snow tires for the RX8? thanks for you post Trispec! :)
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