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Mazda RX-8 Problems and Solutions



  • ukjimukjim Posts: 63
    "Also,,,,anyone else having the chrome/silver finish on their shift knob flaking off?
    Another PIA to deal with.... "

    It's not flaking off, it's melting off! it gets so hot after sitting in the sun all day I can hardly touch the darn thing. A serious case of "form over function"
  • lhesslhess Posts: 379
    we're at 3K miles and, of course, no problems yet, but everything looks good. I did talk to my tech about some of the problems that I see posted here and he seems to have a pretty good understanding of the rotary. Thought I'd post some of his comments here for others:

    1. Asked about the frequency of 8's coming back in with major engine problems. He said they're not getting a lot with real issues, but most of what they see is "driver induced." they have had one converter problem that he felt would have happened regardless of how the car was driven. It was replaced.

    2. Asked about the autos. He said they will run fine as long as you pop it over into the "shifting mode" (sorry, I have no idea what mazda calls their auto tranny) and blow the crap out of the engine. Do that as often as you can.

    3. He asked me about winter driving. I told him I would probably be putting him away for the salty, snowy roads. He advised me to start it every other day, if not every day, and let it warm up nicely before shutdown. He said even though the car is not being driven, the electronics still pull on the battery and it needs to be charged. He even suggested that I try to get it out and drive it as much as possible.

    4. Here's an interesting one I hadn't seen posted here (forgive me if I overlooked someone's knowledgeable post). He said that a big contributor to the flooding issue (aside from the shutdown before warm-up) is letting the battery run down for a 2-3 day period. He said when it doesn't crank good and start quickly, it is more likely to flood. He strongly suggested starting the car EVERY day and actually driving it as much as possible. Even weekend drivers need to be starting the car as much as possible.

    And, I have to say, I've been lucky to find a dealer that is knowledgeable about the rotary (even the sales guys are somewhat fanatics about it) and they fix issues when they arise. Hope this helps!!
  • rx8worldrx8world Posts: 28
    he said anything about the rough idle issue?.Older messages said that this was a problem caused by "bad" spark plug wires.My mechanic told me that the car(in idle mode) fix the "air to fuel ratio".....
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    The rough idle is caused mainly by two factors:

    1. The injectors are too large to properly control idle mixture, so the computer is constantly messing with the idle mixture, trying to get it right - it can't so you get a rough idle. Not much you can do about that. You can actually hear it work, constantly trying to correct the idle mixture.

    2. At idle the engine is turning at 750 RPM. At that low speed the apex seals don't work very well - these are the combustion chamber seals at the edges of the rotor. Because they don't seal very well, the chamber pressure varies a bit and you get some blowby into adjacent chambers which affects the mixture and its' burning characteristics. This varies with time, so the combination of the two effects means the mixture is not well controlled and you get an inconsistant burn from chamber to chamber, resulting in a rough idle.

    The ignition wires or spark plugs can affect the idle, but they have to be really bad. Neither are working very hard at idle as the combustion pressure is very low - bad plugs show up mostly under hard accelleration when the combustion pressure is high - a fouled or worn plug will not fire under high pressure.

    Raise the idle to 1500 RPM or so and the apex seals will begin to work much better. You will get a very nice steady idle - but it will reduce the already low mileage even further. Try it when sitting in the car - use the accellerator pedal to raise the idle and see how much it improves vs RPM. I recommend living with the poor idle, because it causes less complaints than poorer mileage would. My guess is that was also Mazda's compromise reasoning.
  • rx8worldrx8world Posts: 28
    Thanks a lot for the informations pathstar.
  • lhesslhess Posts: 379
    I was going to respond to the idle issue by saying that all I was ever told about idling (didn't ask a specific question) was that it would not idle smoothly and that it was not a mechanical problem. My answer is somewhat lacking in comparison, huh?
  • cheezeboycheezeboy Posts: 218
    if it hasn't been said before - Pathstar, you rock. This forum would be a lesser forum without you!

    Wish you were my mechanic.......!!!
  • xoomxoomxoomxoom Posts: 4
    I also have one of those dipstick "condoms" and what you are seeing is a very low cost field fix. By creating a thermal barrier between the dipstick and the dipstick tube any oil in the plastic "condom" avoids condensation that normally occurs on the inside surface of the steel dipstick tube. The "condom" is designed to stay in the tube but all of us who check our own oil level are well aware of the ingeniously designed "hook" at the end of the dipstick. Perfect for catching the bottom edge of the "condom" and dragging it out of the dipstick tube. I just slide the "condom" back in and it works fine. Anybody getting turned on yet?

    BTW - I'm willing to put up with this minor inconvenience because the RX-8 is just a hoot to drive. Here's to triple digits on the speedo!!!
  • ukjimukjim Posts: 63
    Thanks for the tip, glad to know that I'm not the only one out there potentially not having safe sex!

    I'll drink to the last comment, I just dont get this coking/fouling up issue, how can you not peg the tach every day! :blush:
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    It seems to me that this fix is dangerous, as you could accidentally introduce something other than oil into the engine. I'll bet if you took some of the black foam "tube" type insulation intended for water pipes (I'm thinking of the 1/2" size here), and put it over the outside of the dipstick tube it would perform just as well, and not have the ability to introduce something into the engine. You could even put light coloured electrical tape around the top of it to make it easier to find when replacing the dipstick (the hardest part of checking the oil for me - but I'm old ;-).
  • mex8mex8 Posts: 3
    50% of the restaurants in the POI of my Nav system are no longer there. At least two major road changes in the area I live have not been included, and they were complete at least 3 years ago! It is time for Mazda to release the updates! :mad:
  • xoomxoomxoomxoom Posts: 4
    I will stay away from any jokes regarding age and finding the dipstick hole. ;)

    I would keep in mind the off-the-shelf pipe insulation material is not meant for the temperatures seen around the dipstick. I wouldn't go so far as to predict a fire but it would most likely melt, make a mess, and not accomplish what you are trying to do.
  • ukjimukjim Posts: 63
    Time to revisit my original question about the dipstick "condom". The Teflon like tube put over the dipstick was installed by the dealer so I assume it is of the correct material for the expected temperatures and does not pose a threat of fire or damage to the engine. It is back on the dipstick so hopefully it stays put.

    I have a portable Garmin Street Pilot III that is about 3 years old (I didnt get the Mazda Nav option because of that). I was getting concerned about the rapidly aging data base so contacted Garmin last week about an upgrade. I dont know who supplies the Mazda system, but if it is Garmin there will be updated software available later this year, but they wouldnt tell me when.
    I dont know about other systems but Garmin uses the term Points Of Interest (POI) in its set up so I thought it might be the same one.
  • Thanks for the info. I haven't bought the RX8 yet, but I just tested one that actually stalled at idle in the dealer's lot before I took it out. It had 55 miles on it. It didn't look like it had been prep'ed yet so I wasn't too worried about it.

  • slayerslayer Posts: 10
    I love my 8, but damn, for some reason it seems to be a magnet for bodywork damage. Since I bought the car a little over 3 months ago, I've had an 18-wheeler kick up a stone at high speed and chip my front-right quarterpanel, I've had some dimwit drive over a plank in front of me, taking out my left-hand wing mirror, and now this!

    2 days ago I leave work and go to my car. Now my car is parked in the basement parking garage, in a bay with a fire hose at the end of it. The fire hose is dripping water everywhere, I figure it's leaking, think nothing of it. I get home, and to my horror realize the ENTIRE RIGHT-HAND SIDE OF THE CAR is covered in scratches, and some of them are bad ones. Turns out a similar complaint was lodged by a coworker last week, some fool is using the fire hose (illegally) to wash cars or something and obviously just raked the thing over my car without any thought :mad: I mean this guy got everything on the right-hand (driver for me) side...front and rear quarterpanels, front and rear doors, even the freaking roof has a small one! I'm hoping that most of them didn't pierce the clearcoat and can be buffed out, but one or two (on the strip between the doors and roof...oh wait, that's all one big panel connected to the quarterpanels, and the biggest on the car...yay!) are deep enough to fit my fingernail.

    Anyway, sorry for the lengthy rant. Any suggestions on how to approach this? I'm a little worried about buffing since I've never had any scratches of note on my cars before, so I've never done this. Doesn't it wear down the clearcoat? Any tips or whatever would be awesome!

    Now I'm off to find the (expletive deleted) who did this so I can whup his a** and get my money.
  • rx8worldrx8world Posts: 28
    HELLO ALL......i have a question.Is the air fan suppose to work and after you switch of the engine?and if yes...for how long.For nine months now,every time i switched off the fan worked for 5 seconds at low.Today when i took the key off, the fan was still working for 2-3 minutes at high.In the last 10 days i used to turn the key to "ON" after i switched off the engine,to allow the fan to work "manually"(if i can say that).Is this normal?
    Suggestions pls???????
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    I assume you are talking of the radiator electric fan. It will work until the coolant reaches a set temperature. It's summer now, so it will work longer. It's normal, and no, you aren't paranoid, lots of owners wonder about it. Some of us with 3rd gen RX-7s wish our fans did that - instead of hearing coolant boiling. ;)

    One warning. Anyone with cars that are like this should keep their hands out of the fan shroud as the fan can come on at ANY time - and it will take fingers off quite easily!
    If you have to work in there disconnect the battery -ve terminal first.
  • dwynnedwynne Posts: 4,018
    As pathstar1 says, that is normal. When it is hot out after drive you stop moving and turn off the car. The heat under the hood and in the engine builds and if the coolant gets hot enough it will kick on the fan.

    My old Fiat X1/9 used to do this too - folks thought it was strange since it looked futuristic (at the time) and few cars on the road had electric fans.

    Ever notice on the fan shrouds of most modern cars it has a warning that the "fan may start at any time" ? Yep, that is what it is doing. No need to worry, just stop and walk away and let the run as needed.

  • rx8worldrx8world Posts: 28
    thanks a lot pathstar1 and dwynne for the quick response :)
  • dwynnedwynne Posts: 4,018
    Don't sue us if it fails to stop running and runs your battery down and strands you someplace.

    Just kidding :-)

  • redrpmredrpm Posts: 16
    I documented my performance issues a month or so back - bogging, clattering, loss of almost all power, like it's running under water, ETC. Dealerships have been unable to find anything wrong. Multiple reflashes, et al. My coolant light (had to look that one up) has flashed twice while the engine was doing that but only momentarily. As it's warming up in Denver the engine probs are now occurring during every commute, and growing worse. I did call Mazda corporate a couple weeks ago and have them document the issue (now over a year of this) and they created an Open Contact...whatever good that will do.

    Last week took to dealership to have it diagnosed but it was a cool morning (low 60s) and even an hour of hard driving wouldn't replicate the problem. I promised to return on a warmer day when it was actually happening.

    During a 45 minute drive this morning with temps in high 80s, the engine started its antics w/in 5 minutes and persisted the whole time. Could barely get up slight road inclines with engine clattering and wheezing away. I turned around and drove 45 min back to a dealership, several times considering putting on hazard was that bad and I couldn't get out of my own way. Completely bogging down.

    I pulled into dealership, turned it off for 5 min, found a service tech who took it out for a 10 min drive. I was joking with the other staff that someone was going to have to go pick him up on the side of the road any minute. Then he comes back, says I should come with him, which I do. As we're pulling out of the lot he says there's nothing wrong...he'd just had it up to 80 and it ran great. We'll see I say.

    So off we go...and the thing runs like a top! With or without AC. It was flawless. Unbelievable. I was devasted. He later ran some diagnostics and said all codes checked out fine. They're keeping it over the weekend and I will go Monday afternoon to drive it myself and see if it will act up. I shouldn't have shut it off and won't next time. But truly I can't get to the end of my own street w/out it going into crapout mode, and now I'll get another service checkout form to add to my other dozen saying/showing there's nothing wrong with the car. If no one hears the tree fall in the forest...did it really? I have no case.

    Is ANYONE experiencing similar issues? Does anyone have thoughts on how to proceed? It's an early gen car, 6 sp, 25k miles. I can't sell it or trade it like this...I'm stuck! Thanks for any direction.
  • cherrymcherrym Posts: 1
    Hi - this is my first time on any chat room. Have a 2003 RX8 - the battery died after the car had been in our garage unused for about a week. Discovered that my daughter had left one of the interior lights on. Husband got it working but now the engine light is on - doesn't seem to have either an engine heating problem or any problem with oil pressure. We haven't got a manual so not sure what else it could be. Can anyone advise?
    Thanx - Cherry
  • dwynnedwynne Posts: 4,018
    Must be a 2004 RX-8, there are no 2003 models - but the 2004s came out early in the model year.

    The car is under warranty, so there is always the dealer - stop in and ask them to check it.

    Also auto parts places like AutoZone, Advance auto parts, etc will read the code from the OBDII computer for you for free. If you do go to one of these places, be sure to remind them that your Mazda uses the newer CAN protocol so they will use a CAN compatible reader to look at the code(s).

    You can also pick up an inexpensive reader for yourself. If you have several new cars this might be a cheap investment - then when you get a check engine light you can hook it up and read the code, then decide what you need to do.

    If you have a loose gas cap can cause a code on a new car, and a lot of dealers will charge you if you go in for a service visit and this is the problem.

    Another option is to just wait - if this was a single fault as you start the car and no more faults occur then the code will roll out of the active buffer and the light will go out. If it does not, then you have an ongoing problem.

  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    It's normal to get a CEL after running the battery dead. It should go away after a few start/shutdown cycles. Have you reset the power steering? If not, that will cause the CE to light. Start car, turn wheel all the way to the right, then all the way to the left, then back to centre. I'm not kidding here, it's in your owners manual.
  • rx8worldrx8world Posts: 28
    hi all,i've heard that the new update came up (i think the "N").does anyone know the benefits of this flash?
  • dwynnedwynne Posts: 4,018
    I think they are past N and onto something else - the "R" flash now.

    Normally things get better with each flash. Folks report better
    driveability, better fuel mileage, etc. I read in one they changed the AC
    compressor to NOT kick off if you rev'd above 5k.

    No way to tell what you have without a CAN reading tool - or asking the
    dealer to check it.

    The 8 has had a lot of flashes and seems to have a very sophisticated and versatile computer. A lot of folks say don't go in for the new flash until you have a symptom, others want to wait until the new "code" has been out for a while. I asked the dealer to flash mine to the latest load before I picked up the car. I have no idea if they did or not, but it seems to drive fine. A lot of dealers will require a symptom to get the flash under warranty. I think "poor mileage" or "hard to start" should be good enough.

  • rx8worldrx8world Posts: 28
    hi dwynne...
    @#*** indicator....nothing...stays at "c"............ :confuse:
  • problemsproblems Posts: 8
    I know how you feel, bought mine in January since then I've had it in for service thirteen times and a new engine after the third month. I contacted the lemon law lawyer and mazda is finally taking the car back. But what really sucks is try'n to find another car I like. Although I have had all the problems, I still love the look of the car, but it isn't worth all the problems thats for sure. Good luck on yours
  • cowboys08cowboys08 Posts: 2
    we are looking at buying a new 05 for my wife, can you recomend this car , what pros and cons are there , thanks
This discussion has been closed.