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Mazda RX-8 Problems and Solutions

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  • I just got my RX-8 back from the dealer yesterday and wanted to report what happened. Apparently, the "vibration" I have been feeling when I start the car from still for last month was not clutch problem. It was the engine. I had an appointment for Friday and drove the car Thursday morning to postoffice and after parking the car noticed that smoke is coming from under the hood. I immediately called roadside assistance and towed the car in thinking that it could be oil pump not working therefore the engine is fried. The next day, I got a call from the dealer and they said my car is ready already. It was a shorted iginition coil. You were right on, Pathstar! I still don't understand why it did what it did when the ignition coil is out.

    While at it, they performed three outstanding recalls. In the worksheet everything is in code so don't know exactly what they are. (The codes are: 3305G, 3405G, 4206F) There are parts listed for two of them, so I can guess what they are. (pad insulation and plugs) I also asked about the one recently talked about on this board - vacuum test and they said they did that, too. I guess my car passed that test and the service advisor said even if it fails the test, it does not mean the total replacement of the engine. Hmm...

    Anyway, my RX-8 runs like new again. No vibration whatsoever and the acceleration is back to what it was like when I first test-drove it. I was losing my faith in it but well... I must admit it is quirky, huh?

    I want to hear people's opinion on one thing now. I am going to move back to my home country, Korea and thinking about shipping my car. But alas, it turns out Mazda does not have a distributor in Korea. Does this mean I can't get service in Korea? Should I give up the idea of bringing my beloved red hottie?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,021
    I find that hard to believe that Mazda is not situated in Korea, unless you are going to North Korea (gee I hope not). ;) I guess it's presumptuous to tell you about Korea but maybe you should check again on that.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • Well, I don't think North Korean government will allow driving a hot red car unless I am the son of Jeong-Il :P .
    Anyway, it's hard to believe but from Mazda's website, that is what I found out. I have posted a question about it on a Korean message board about cars and waiting for more answers. Some said there is Ford Korea, which in the past distributed Mazda cars like 626, so getting parts won't be a problem. I would think one can order parts from Mazda in Japan directly but I am wondering diagnosing problems and actually servicing the car would be easy for any mechanic who is not trained specifically for RX-8, which is also a very sophisticated, computerized car.
  • lhesslhess Posts: 379
    I haven't even gotten my letter yet - just the extended warranty notice. But, was wondering if anyone has completed the recall. If so, what did the techs say and what did they do to your car?

    It sounded huge when it first got announced, but it seems as though they are not gonna be replacing a bunch of our engines (and credit to pathstar who predicted that, I believe).
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    My Dealer said it's just going to be RX-8 owners that live in hot regions only at first.

    It would seem to me that RX-8 AT's might not get recalled at all. I drive fairly aggressively and I must say, the electric fan that runs after switching the engine off, has only been running maybe half dozen times in the middle of the hottest part of the summer. I think the Renesis in the RX-8 AT just inherently stay cooler. Does that make sense to anyone else?
  • I had 4 recalls done all at once--the latest one concerns the emmisions system and for that they changed the plugs and had the pcm recalibrated.According to the service manager the latest recall has to do with the car passing california's emmisions test.I had 20,000 miles on my car and really no problems,however,the new plugs seem to have made it feel quicker.
  • I took my car in about 10 days ago for them to look at. i have an '04 MT, with about 27k on it.

    I purchased it used in Jan. '06 and have had absolutely no problems with it. Took it in for the PCM flash, and now the car seems to "lag" a bit, or there is a slight delay for full throttle and not as much throttle response.

    It could also all be in my head - i'm not sure yet.

    Anyone else feel this way?
  • I had the recall done where they wrapped my fuel tank or something to insulate but whatever they did I have the same problem with the lag and there is a delay in shifting and it seems slower. I hate it. I keep thinking my transmission is messed up since there is a serious delay in the automatic transmission shifiting gears between 2 and 3 and 3 and 4 but 1st to 2nd is great!
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    My 2005 RX-8 AT Group 2 (all the recall items done in Hiroshima, Japan) has always exhibited the delay since day one. I picked up the car at the dealer, as the first customer to drive it with the plastic wrappings still on and only 5 miles on it. I believe the computer ultimately controls the shift points based on data flows, including momentum sensors, even when in manual mode. I seems to me as I drive, that if there is significant momentum or acceleration the computer may wait for the shift because it thinks it can get more out of the current selected gear.

    Manual mode 1st to 2nd shifts are the hardest to time smoothly, but built up to 5000RPM for best results mostly. 2nd to 3rd and 3rd to forth shifts are rare but usually very smooth as they are highway on and off ramp related.

    I have seen 2nd to 3rd in full automatic mode appear to get completely stuck until the acceleration and or decelaration subsides.

    I haven't done it, but I bet if you turn off the DSC, things will definitely work more directly.
  • My '04 has been riddled with problems. Some problems keep recurring. I guess it's possible I just got a bad egg, but I suspect the problems are not as isolated as you might think. I just got a letter in the mail last week from Mazda extending my powertrain warranty to 5 year/60,000 miles. Has anybody else gotten this letter??
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    Yep, we've all gotten them. No recall letters yet.
  • HI all, I have gotten the recall letter and the warranty extension letters. Took mine in last week for the recall. They told us everything had checked out good and nothing was replaced. I have been told that roughly 1-3 engines out of 30+ are being replaced. My tech even said they had one in that ran really bad, and it passed the recall. I personaly think Mazda has set the specs so high for a fail, that the majority wont fail. We shall see what happens now.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    Is there a description of what dealers are doing? Do you get some documents with specs? Is re-test covered?
  • I had my recall done two weeks ago. I drive an '06 6MT (Feb. build). My car had the two leading plugs replaced and the PCM re-calibrated. The car had no problems prior to the recall but I have noticed some differences in performance.

    The car seems to rev a lot smoother between 7k-redline and the stock exhaust note seems to be a litle higher in pitch.

    This is my first rotary powered car and I have enjoyed every minute behind the wheel. My car qualified for the extended power train warranity so I feel confident about Mazda is backing their product.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    Do you mind my asking where in the country? Did the dealer give any hints about the recall time tables or models configs?

    My year old 2005 RX-8 AT has been running great since day one. I call her my therapy car.
  • I'm in Sacramento. I called before my official letter arrived and the dealer had no issues accepting my car. The VIN was entered into their computer via Mazda's database and the service advisor had the necessary information needed for what recall campaign my car qualified for.
  • My car hasjust hit 69,000 miles, so the extended warranty does nothing for me. My recall appt. is this Wednesday, so we'll see how it goes. I love this car...with my problems and all. I commute a lengthy amount of time (2004 manual RX-8...as you can tell with all of the milage). I'll let you know what they say.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    My 2005 RX-8 AT Group 2 build, just got recalled. The dealer was nice enough to give me a call though. The person on the phone was reading from of script. She said, the recall was needed to test the car for a "lose of power" problem.

    He's what I'm going to formally ask my dealer in a letter.

    1) Can I continue receiving tests for the remainder of my extended warranty period? Within reason, say once a year.

    2) Can I receive a reasonable discount on a brand new RX-8 AT six speed, same config as my current model if a problem develops, rather than getting a new engine? Reasonable price is true invoice price I think.

    3) What are the symptoms of the official "Lose of power" at issue? Slight or stunning significant lose of power?

    4) Where are most of the car show signs of the problem located. Everywhere or just hot regions.

    5) What other questions should I ask. I love the car. But I'm not wealthy enough to be foolish about this.
  • I've test driven the 8 now a few times and the thing is a fire breathing dragon.... and trying to get myself to finally pull the trigger on a 06 or 07 . but i'm SO WORRIED. After owning a Ford Probe and dealing with that nightmare of repairs and Mazda parts - please tell me i'm gonna be ok when the warrantee is up and i need a mechanic, parts and labor. who can i go to - only mazda? are the parts really expensive - i want an 8 really bad.. can't get the desire outta me... any comments will be apprec.. :confuse:
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    I've always had the "Screaming whistle" noise BTW, on my 2005 RX-8 AT. PathStar, "Wizard of the rotary", says it's the cold start blower. Mine turns off after about a minute. It's in the manual, that you should let the car run for twenty seconds or so after cold start. I believe the manual's advice is because the cold start blower is making sure that the excess gas from the starting choke on the engine is still blowing unburned gas out of the cold system.

    All I know for sure, is if I start driving my RX-8 before the the "Screaming whistle" noise stops, there will be a very pronounced popcorn/rattle from the exhaust system the moment I put the car in drive position. The popcorn/rattle appears to be normal in the RX-8 AT as the engine and PCM are trying to take gear selection into account. The PCM in the RX-8 AT isn't able perfectly balance the fuel/air mixture because of the AT, so the excess gas pops in the exhaust system. Popcorn/rattle happens all the time at low RPM, especially in stop and go traffic.

    But I don't need perfection, and god knows I don't care about gas millage numbers, but I do absolutely need my paddle shifted RX-8 AT. My clutch knee and ankle are shot from 15 years of sticking it so paddle shifting through the city traffic jams, is the only way to drive.... :)
  • Trispect, thank you for your quick response.

    My wife's RX 8 is a 2005 6 speed where as yours is an automatic.

    In this connection the screaming whistle sound in our RX 8 only begins after it reaches the hot operating temperature and continues until the motor is shut off at the end of the trip.

    For your info, I had commented to the chief mechanic that I would have bought an Automatic transmission RX 8, but due to all the problems we had heard owners were having with the automatics we bought a six speed manual stick instead.

    Interesting enough, the mechanic said the 2006 and later model automatics should not have the same problem as the 2005 automatic models. The 2006 automatic car computers have been updated to handle the 6 speed automatic transmission instead of using the automatic 4 speed computer controls for the 6 speed automatic, as Mazda did for 2005. Well what do you know Mazda/Ford knew all along what was causing the problem while they acted surprised with the customer. They must have known this as they sold them this way.

    It appears like if one can not put up with lots of flim flam service claims and can not afford to put up with incompentant car design and inflated labor repair times you should not buy an RX 8 even if it looks neat.

    If it was not my wife's car and she likes it I would have got rid it months ago.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    Certainly sounds like a vacuum or intake seal is not doing it's job. I'd be POed too.

    I've never really heard the 2004-2005 RX-8 AT described as a 4 speed control of a 6 speed tranny, but I guess I can see why. Essentially the 3rd and 4th gears both have automatic over drive gears.

    Not sure if any of this matter much though, because the practical reality of the rotary's low torque means you always need to shift down for performance so driving the 3rd in manual mode and having the AT automatically shift to a lower gear from 3rd's over drive is actually quite nice. The 4th gear and it's over drive are only useful for highway.

    I had heard about the six speed computer controled AT before I bought mine. I also read all about the issues with the AT. I think engine differences 197HP vs 212HP point to tweeks that might be good but not significant enough for me. The torque numbers are actually a bit higher in the 197HP 2004-5 AT and the gas millage is identical. I'll definitely take the higher torque however small.
  • I have been reading messages here for a longish spell now and have become concerned in recent weeks by what seems a rising anxiety about the viability of the rx8. I am feeling the need to say something positive about the car. I have had my 2005 AT 8 for 22 months and have had no problems with it. Like many of the posters on this site, I have just had my car in for the most recent recall and was told that all was well with the car (although two spark plugs were changed).

    I have heard no problematic sounds, popcorn or otherwise. Nothing has broken on the car...the sun visors are working perfectly. While the gas mileage is not great, I do not worry about it...I don't drive a lot (19,000 km on the clock. That's just under 12,000 miles for those not sure about kms). If I were doing a long daily commute, I would choose another car, I think, but I don't and I won't.

    I have had to add very little oil between oil changes but note the point made my others here that the most recent recall changes might lead to more oil use. I will be more vigilant but the dealer made no reference to the issue at that last recall service.

    I run the car all year around and use snow tires in the winter. The car works wonderfully in the snow...as long as it is not too deep. I live in Southern Ontario where, in my view, the winters are truly baby winters (I come from Edmonton so I know what a real winter is like); I have never had any problems starting the car in the cold and have had never flooded the car.

    The car is a delight to drive. Like Trispec I learned early on to operate in manual mode using the paddles to shift gears. I have taken it on a few long distance trips and found the vehicle very comfortable and relaxing. It is nimble and agile in traffic and, as long as the revs are kept high enough, it has the power to quickly move one out of any danger. In city driving I am rarely out of the first two gears and on the local regional roads I rarely go beyond third gear. The fourth gear is used only on the freeway.

    Because of all the worry about flooding with this car, I have been wondering why Mazda cannot do something with the car's already pretty sophisticated computers to prevent the car from turning off if it is in danger of flooding. I think it should be easy to have the computer ignore the driver's instruction to shut down the engine (turning off the key). The computer could easily set off a signal warning the driver to wait a little longer before shutting down the engine so the failure to shut down would not be confusing. The computer won't let the AT shift down if the engine speed is too high and it beeps at you when you run the revs too high. Surely, they could figure out a way to use the computer to deal with the flooding.

    I have learned a good deal from the postings on this site and have gained much by pathstar1's knowledge and wisdom. Thanks to all.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    The popcorn/rattle seems to only be a low RPM issue where the gas peddle is being depressed more than can be handled by the normal burning of the rotary. I find that if I back off the gas when I hear the noise, then the popcorn/rattle stops. Therefore I now use the noise as mechanism to get better gas millage.

    My oil consumption is fairly steady at a quart every 1500 miles of city driving. I'm on a long trip from Boston, MA to the mountains of North Carolina. Still getting 23MPG at 80MPH plus.

    But I love this car way to much. I drove 7 hours on Sunday and I just wanted more more more. It's really unbelievable how much fun my RX-8 AT is.
  • I received my recall letter in mid-September and had my dealer perform the vacuum test about 10 days later.

    My car passed with flying colors (I have a 2005 6-speed manual). I asked about the failure rate and was told that they had only had 3 failures - and all were 2004s. I hope that's a good sign.

    It does get kind of discouraging when I read of the problems on this forum. Mine has been virtually flawless. Maybe it's mostly those with problems who are doing the posting?
  • I'm looking for a FUN car just for the weekend and just love the look of the 8. The local delearship has a loaded white 2006 AT. I have read the various issues concerning the 8 from 04 and 05, but have most of the issues listed on this forum been solved? If not, what should I be concerned with?
  • Well with all said and done, yes the RX-8 is a fun car and turns heads. We traded ours in at the beginning of Oct! For the amount of money I was paying for this car combined with our problems, I just couldn't justify this car. Others seem to have no problems at all and that is great. For all of you that have yours, enjoy it, I now have a Tribute in the garage which is a lot more practical for my family. I might get another RX some day.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    You may have noticed that we're moving toward smaller, more focused discussions. Please go to the top level of the RX-8 board and look for an existing topic or create a new one if you don't see something suitable. Here's the link: Mazda RX-8.

    Thanks!
This discussion has been closed.