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Mazda RX-8 Problems and Solutions



  • slayerslayer Posts: 10
    Oh great rotary masters, I need some information :) I may find myself out of the country for a year, and I need to know the implications of hibernating my 8 for this period. It's possible I can get someone to turn the engine over, or even drive the car, once a week or something, but this makes me nervous. Either way, what are the implications of such a situation and what must I look out for?

    Thanks guys!
  • rx8worldrx8world Posts: 28
    It's true that despite all the problems we face with this car we are determined not to sell it.No other car "completes" me as this one.Exterior looks like it has been created by the pen of an italian car designer.
    As for the Hibernation(slayer)'s well known that 8 should be driven as often as you can...that means EVERY DAY :) you will be gone for a year......if you find someone to drive the car at least 1-2 times a week it would be very good(not just start the engine).Otherwise,you must disconnect the battery.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    If you have a garage that would be best. My RX-7 hiberates for 6 months every year. This is what I do:

    1. Fill fuel tank - you don't want air pressure changes to suck water vapour into it. The fuel will not deteriorate very much in a year. I don't bother with "fuel stabilizer".
    2. Change the oil and filter - this ensures there is minimal acid in the engine.
    3. Put car up on jackstands - not necessary, but minimizes tire flatspotting and lets me sweep the floor under the car. Also reduces spring sagging.
    4. Remove the battery and store indoors - charge every month or so with a good quality charger. If you're not there, get a "battery tender" and leave it hooked up, battery removed from vehicle. Have someone look at it once a month to make sure it's still working properly.

    If coolant change is almost due, change it before storing - it will help reduce corrosion in the cooling system with fresh coolant in there. Don't leave a window open. You don't want animals taking up residence in your car.

    When you return, install battery, check oil, put car on ground. Start up - clean windows inside and out - you'd be amazed how much stuff accumulates on the windows. Reset the electric power steering as per the owners manual (turn all the way right, then left, then centre), drive away.
  • problemsproblems Posts: 8
    Hi, Well the pro's are ofcourse the look and interior,I like the trunk space(that's important to me)the sound system, just the feel of the car. The cons like I said before maybe it was just my car but i had everything replaced form the back window, (three days after I bought it)to replaceing the engine(three months after I bought it)there were alot of other thing i had to take it in for, but I can't list them all I couldn't just back it out of the garage and turn it off because it will flood the engine and you'll have to have it flat bedded in and mazda has to fix it,but this I wasn't told about when I bought it ( be sure to ask). I hate to say alot of bad things because it just might of been my car. like I said I contacted a lemon law lawyer and there taking it back. If I wouldn't of had the problems I did I would of definetly kept the car, I love the car, its kind of like when you get something you like so much and have to give it back. Hopefully yours will be on the up and up and you won't have any problems, but with the warranty they have to fix it regaurdless and if you have alot of problems contact a lemon law lawyer,it won't cost you anything. GOOD LUCK TO YOU.
  • dwynnedwynne Posts: 4,018
    I agree with everything you said, except I always would put "Sta-Bil" in the tank. I would add it to the tank before the last fill up so it mixes in good. I even use it in the mower's gas can - since a single can may last several months.

    If you don't have jack stands, then you can buy special pads for the tires to sit on that is SUPPOSED to keep them from flat spotting. You should also air them way up to near max sidewall pressure - this will help if you can't get them off the ground.

    Make a check list of all the stuff to do before the first drive, and add "set air pressure to 32psi" to that list.

    My daughter did a year of college in Austria a few years back and I took care of her car while she was gone. I left the battery in the car, but trickle charged it to full once a month. While out there I rolled the car forward (by pushing it) so the tires rotated 180 degrees. Next time I rolled it back. The car fired right up after 9 months of sitting and the battery and tires showed no ill effects. The inside of the glass was nasty with "out gassing" from the interior materials.

  • Hi

    I also am having performance problems with an RX-8 in Colorado (Colorado Springs). On very hot days with the AC on, if I am in traffic, when I go to take off I often have to floor it to get it to move at all. I brought it to Mazda here in Colorado Springs about 6 weeks ago and they said they downloaded a software patch. It seemed fin for while (weather was cooler), but tonight, when I went to take off at lights, I got up to 6 MPH and had to switch off the AC and fan, after about 100 meters, it started to pick up slowly... It was fine at next lights and sluggish at the one after that. I'm tired of this.

    I was wondering if it is the emission system at high altitude? My RX-8 is an 04 (leased in Sep 03) automatic. Not looking forward to yet another trip back to denver to get it looked at.
  • slayerslayer Posts: 10
    Thanks pathstar and dwynne! Yes I do have a garage, albeit a small single garage.

    Okay, so it is plausible. My big concern was the rotary. Seeing as we all know the car needs to be driven, and revved, I was worried that not doing this would be problematic for the engine.

    The oil and coolant will be changed at service at the end of this month, probably about a month or so prior to me leaving. Would that be fresh enough?

    My girlfriend will be at home, so I do have the option of someone driving the car once a week, but this prospect makes me a little nervous as she is not used to driving a car with this kind of power, and she'd have to use the revs when she does. Plus she'd have to check the oil and coolant, tire pressures, etc. and I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be giving her this big responsibility. Would it be preferable to have the car driven once a week, for about 10-20kms? Also, any concerns over fuel types? I run 95 octane unleaded in the car, I'm not sure if it's the equivalent of your 95 RON (I think it is), would this make any difference? I don't know what, if any, fuel stabilizers are available here, so that may not be an option anyway. Tire flatspotting and spring compression are things that didn't even occur to me :surprise:
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,081
    I'm taking a guess here, but it almost sounds to me like your auto tranny is not operating properly. do you notice if it upshifts at all during those sluggish takeoffs? I would try it out from a stop up to 65 or so and count the shifts. If it goes through all the gears, fine, but if not, then its obviously not going back down to low gear at a stop.

    Do you use the paddles? Does that make any difference at those times you experience the problem?

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Contrary to popular opinion, the rotary does NOT have to be driven frequently. This myth was perpetrated upon us because the battery the RX-8 came with was so poor. They leak acid, die for no appearant reason, and are a little small. Just because the battery dies doesn't mean the rotary engine has to be run! Just park it, remove the battery and keep it charged (battery tender would probably be your best bet), and yes, one month before you leave would be fine for fluid changes. If your garage has power you could even leave the battery in the car with a battery tender attached. I don't like doing this with all the electronics in the car, but if you disconnect the -ve lead from the battery and then connect the tender to the battery, the electronics will not be affected by any electical noise created by the tender. If you're not set up to put it on jackstands, don't worry about it. Any flatspotting will go away within the first day of driving anyway. I put mine up on stands because in winter it will go down to -30 ish C in my garage. I just like to get it up off the floor so I can sweep under it (and watch for leaks). ;)

    BTW, the rotary doesn't actually need a very big battery. You can, after all, turn the engine over with one hand! I have a tiny battery in my 3rd gen RX-7 and it's more than adequate.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    It sure sounds like plug fouling to me. One rotors' plugs foul so much they don't fire when you try to take off. Once you get it going they clear. Do you run the engine up in RPMs from time to time in manual shift mode? Maybe your dealer could check the plugs, and if fouled, could install the hotter plugs if your driving style calls for that. Ask them. There is a TSB on the hotter plugs.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    One more thing I forgot to mention. Whenever you disconnect the battery you will have to reset the electric power steering. It's in the owners manual, but basically it just involves starting the car, turning the wheel all the way to the right, all the way to the left, then back to centre. Just so you don't panic when you see the check engine light. ;)
  • rx8worldrx8world Posts: 28
    Hi guys....
    When in idle,i can see water coming out from the exhaust pipes(drops).I think this is normal but i need to verify this.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    When you burn gasoline you produce H2O, CO2, CO, some NOx, all in gas form, and perhaps a little carbon. The cat converts the CO and NOx into CO2 and N2. The water condenses in the exhaust and drips out the tailpipe, usually with some CO2 disolved in it and sometimes with some carbon dust in it as well. It exits as a gas when you are driving "at speed".

    It's normal. It's why the exhaust system rusts/corrodes.

    You will also see some oil come out, from the oil that is injected into the intake to lubricate the engine. It usually gets on the back of the car around the tailpipe. We call that "smoot". A sign you have the "correct" engine design. ;)
  • dwynnedwynne Posts: 4,018
    I noticed already that when I go to start my 8 after the motor is hot it can crank for a LONG time before it fires. The battery in these cars is pretty puny, but it seemed strange that after sitting over night it would fire right up but if you stop the car for a bit then it seems to have trouble starting again.

    Someone told me the simple trick for the 8 - turn the key to on (run) bur don't start the car. Wait at least until the "RX-8" is off the display or a little longer (10-20 seconds) and the car will fire right up. I have tried this several times and it starts much quicker than if I hop in and turn the key straight to start. So get in, turn on the key, and put on your seat belt and do whatever else you need to do - then the car will fire right up once you are done :surprise:

  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    The probable cause is the fuel boiling in the injector lines. Once the fuel pump is going it pressurizes the lines, raising the boiling temp and collapsing any fuel vapour bubbles that are in there. It also causes fuel to flow through the lines back to the fuel tank, cooling the lines. Injecting fuel vapour instead of liquid fuel would mean way too little fuel to fire. Hence, it will not start right away.

    Your fix makes sense. I'll bet it doesn't do it in winter, when it's cooler, or on rainy days.
  • rx8worldrx8world Posts: 28
    Thanks again pathstar1 .i like the way you answer to our issues....not only in a word but you explain it very clear,so we don't have any doubts about it.
    When i was coming home earlier,a Toyota Levin 6spd 185 bhp stopped to the right side of me..."till the next stop light "..he told me "ok" i said.I didn't fire it up from 4000 rpm but around 2000. 1st gear-equal....2ond-equal again and by the 3rd he started staying behind.I know that they are only around 1000kg and the 8 1400kg but i was kinda disappointed(and i had almost the tank full).If i fired it up at 4000rpm would make a great difference?
  • mhbrow2mhbrow2 Posts: 1
    Exact same problem. Mazda of Lakewood was able to document it today, and called to tell me that Mazda has it "under investigation" and that I need to return the rental car. Apparently until they can permanently fix the problem, they want me to take the car back.

    I'm in Denver as well. This sucks!
  • slayerslayer Posts: 10
    Thanks again pathstar! Okay, so I don't need to worry about the apex seals getting hard and brittle while the engine is lifeless for this period then? And replacing oil and coolant a month before will ensure no corrosion in the engine etc.? What happens if water vapor is sucked into the fuel tank (I will make sure it's filled before leaving)?

    Is the battery easy to remove from the car? I'm not much of a mechanic, though I'd imagine it's pretty straightforward. I don't have jackstands, temperature ranges here from an absolute low of about 5C (winter at night) to 35C (hot summer day).

    What is a battery tender? I'm guessing it's an electrical device you connect to the removed battery and plug into the wall to keep it charged?

    @rx8world: I had a run against a friend of mine in his Hyundai Tiburon (Hyundai Coupe I think it's called over there) the other day. Launched at 4,000rpm, though I dropped the clutch a bit fast and chirped the tires, 1st and 2nd gear were pretty close, by 3rd I started to pull away. I think this is a function of the 8's low torque. Since 1st gear is a little tricky to redline and make the shift to 2nd quickly (for me at least), it takes until the top of 2nd gear to get the benefits of the 8's power. Next time don't run 150m from light to light, try it over a bit more distance and you should lose him without much trouble.
  • rx8worldrx8world Posts: 28
    That's true about the 2nd gear.After the first race we were going side by side and talking and we decided to race in movement with the 2nd second after he was already behind me.From the stop and go race i had the DSC ON.These safety systems reduse the torque?or they interfere only with brakes?
  • fuzzy55fuzzy55 Posts: 1
    My 2004 RX8 experienced the same problems. I live in the hot southwest-Albuquerque. At first they thought it was the computer so they reprogrammed it. When it continued to do it, I was told that Mazda has been replacing engines as a result of it. However, they haven't said they have fixed the problem. My dealersihp has already replaced 2 engines. My engine is on back order. I've been without my car for 2 1/2 weeks this time. We've written Mazda as this is a safety problem. I would have to have it die on my in a busy spot. I've had it happen at minor intersections so far. They say it is carbon build up. I've had mine for 15 months and it has less than 7000 miles on it. What good is a new engine if I'm going to experience the same problem next year. Maybe they are hoping it will be out of warranty and not their problem.
  • dwynnedwynne Posts: 4,018
    Last week MazdaUSA told dealers to stop selling RX-8s until they got service updates for them. Now the first part of the update is out. Cars built after the plant fire (from March xx,2005 and newer) already have extra heat shielding around the gas tank and O2 sensor, but have to be recalled and checked. If all is well, they flash you to the latest computer software and send you on your way. If all is not well, they may have to replace the gas tank, sensor, fuel level sensor, and more parts.

    If you have an older car, you will be getting new shielding and any other parts it takes to fix it, then the same computer flash.

    Don't both to call your dealer, since they do not have the parts (yet) to fix any of the cars that need more than just a flash. We should all get recall notices in the mail next month and at that time the dealers should have what it takes to fix the cars.

    The key to avoiding the under car heat problem is not to sit still and fast idle the car. So if you are stuck in traffic and want the A/C to run colder, if you race the motor up to 2k, 3k, or more you could cause over heat damage to your car. For sure if you live in a hotter area you have to be more careful. Sitting at NORMAL idle is supposed to be OK.

  • slayerslayer Posts: 10
    Okay, the official word from my dealership is this: everything pathstar1 described sounds fine to them, though they highly recommend the jack stands (or bricks) as they believe the WHEELS will deform if the car sits in the same position for that long. Nothing about flatspotting tires or sagging springs (though I didn't ask). Perhaps the alloy used in the 8's wheels is a little weaker than the RX-7 pathstar? I dunno.

    They of course recommended having someone drive the car at least once a week (which I can do) for about 20kms or so. I think I will likely go with this option, as I think there is less risk to the car overall. Pathstar, anyone else, do you guys disagree?

    Thank you so much for all your help so far!
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    I think there was a miscommunication there. The wheels wouldn't deform, the tires do. They are part of the wheels, so overall, the wheels deform, but not the rims. The aluminum rims can take huge forces, and the force of holding up the car is minor.

    I think there would be a much greater chance of problems if someone drove the car once a week than if it just sat. Much greater wear, chance of accidents. If it sits you only have time deterioration, which you would have even if driven. If you don't have a garage, invest in a car cover to keep the sun out of the car. Those looking after it can keep an eye on the cover, rinse it off if necessary from time to time, and if it starts to come off, reattach it. Oh, and once a month they should look under the cover to make sure someone/thing hasn't gotten into the car. You wouldn't want to come home to find a dead body or anything in your car. ;)

    As I said, I store my RX-7 6 months every year, and it is just as "new" when I start it up in the spring as it was in the fall when I hibernated it. I just have to install the battery,brush off the dust, check the tire pressure, and clean the windows inside and out.

    If you do want to put it up on jackstands, you will need four of them. You will also need a concrete pad or concrete patches to put the jackstands on. You will also need a jack to raise the car so you can put the jackstands under it. If you are set up for this, by all means do it. If you are not set up for it I wouldn't do it. If it's not going to be in a garage I wouldn't put it up on jackstands. Too much temptation for wheel thieves, and too dangerous, as it can be knocked off the stands if someone bumps it hard - even children could knock it off the stands if they "tried" hard enough.

    So, outside, car cover, no jack stands, remove battery, use "battery tender" to keep it charged.

    Inside, car cover optional, jack stands, remove battery, use "battery tender" to keep it charged.
  • rx8worldrx8world Posts: 28
    my friend(allow me to call you this way ),i have 2 questions:
    1. Because i'm too scared of what i hear everyday(replacement of engines etc).....i will tell you the way i drive my 8 and tell me if it's good: i drive it everyday with an average 30 km per day.I rev it 3-4 times a day to 9000rpm(usually the 1st and 2nd gear).If it has traffic in the road i prefer using 2nd gear at 40km/h than 3rd.i rarely use the 4rth gear in the city.I change my oil every 3000 km(texaco havoline 5-30 semi synth).I use 100 octane fuel and sometimes 98(i think it's RON you call it there).
    2.About the new recall....if we don't change the fuel tank(extra heat shielding)...would that be a great problem?
    Thank's a lot.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Sounds like you're doing fine. Don't be scared! It's a very reliable engine, unless "lugged". Doesn't sound like you're lugging it! The second gen. RX-7 (the last "normally aspirated" rotary cars made) are now turning well over 200,000 mi. in the US.

    I don't think you need to use such high octane rated fuel, just go with what the owners manual calls for. If you have "mid grade" it works fine. Many even use "regular" (87 rating). You may get better mileage with lower octane fuel. I wouldn't worry about knock - this car has a fantastically effective protection system so go ahead and try lower octane and see what you think. If it "pings" you will notice it suddenly looses power for a few seconds, then recovers - usually this happens at full throttle in the lower RPM range. If you notice pinging you can always change back to higher rated fuel. I haven't heard of anyone damaging the engine this way. If you're putting in a supercharger or turbocharger, well, that's a different matter! ;)

    As far as the recall, I'd go with Mazda's recommendation. I think the problems occurred in hot climates, but you could get caught in heat, so go with the recall would be my choice.
  • ukjimukjim Posts: 63
    I have a question and a story I would really appreciate some feedback on:
    Does hitting the rev limiter trigger the CEL?

    Here's what happened, on two occasions my CEL came on and the only common demoninator I can think of is that I took the engine upto 8000+ rpm at which point in bogged down slightly then recovered. Upon next start-up the CEL came on.
    The first trip to dealer ended up with a new "flash" ( not sure which version).
    This second time I told the dealer about possibly hitting the rev limiter and he said that was why the CEL came on.
    He also advised against continually "over revving" the engine.
    When I asked about resetting the CEL without a tip to him he said it will auto reset after 20 or so cycles (start, reach temp and cool down =1 cycle).
    Next he tells me that there is a recall on my car (2004 6pd, 10K miles) and that if I take it off the lot I will be responsible for any physical harm to persons or property. Needless to say I left it ( I got a decent loaner from the dealer, a Hertz, free, unlimited milage for as long as he has my car). He doesnt know how long it will take to get the parts per previous messages on this board. I could go on but you get the idea, does any of this make sense?
  • rx8worldrx8world Posts: 28
    Thanks pathstar.
    About pinging noise,i've noticed that 1-2 times when i was in 4rth gear and about 40km/h but i'm not sure if that was what we call pinging noise from the low octane was more likely like the engine said"go to lower gear please" :shades:
    I forgot to mention something.When my mechanic wanted to check something in the exhaust system and he unplugged it,the pipe inside,all the way to the exhaust pipes ,it was as clean as a white paper :surprise: .I asked him"is that my exhaust?" "yes,it's very clean because the combustion is excellent and it burns all the fuel" he responded .
    And,a good information to check(to all rx8 owners) :GReddy RX8 Turbo 30% more hp 40% torque ,all these without opening the engine
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    It's possible to trip the CEL by reving it high. At high revs. the engine exceeds emissions and trips the light. Is your car a manual "high power" unit? If so, 8000 RPM is not "over reving" it. If it's the low power engine, with the 7500 RPM "redline", then you did exceed the "recommended" revs. You will not damage it until about 11,000 RPM! As I recall the CEL will reset after 6 cycles, or you can speed it along by disconnecting the battery -ve terminal. If you do this you will have to reset the electric power steering as per the owners manual - with engine running turn wheel all the way right, then left, then centre.

    The recall is related to "melting" the plastic fuel tank by letting it sit and idle for long periods on hot days. The wording your dealer used was created by the USA "sue" society! ;) It would have been just as safe to drive as it was a week before, when they didn't warn you, but now they know there is a slight possibility of a fire!
  • ukjimukjim Posts: 63
    Thanks pathstar:
    I do have the manual tranny and from all I've read here, keeping the revs up is recommended. I really hadn't wanted to leave the car, I had only dropped in to the dealer on the way home to see if they could reset the CEL, but now the question is what is tripping it if not the revs? I know I hadn't exceeded 9K rpm. As for the recall, my main concern is how long its gong to take to get the fix. The free rental Taurus SE is OK ( it has great A/C for these hot and humid days) but I want my red beast back!
    The other piece of info from the dealer is I have to leave the A/C on recirc at all times to get best cooling. I know this is BS but are you aware of any recalls on the AC, it does seem very weak and I'm heading back to CA where I will see hotter temps throughout the year vs only for a few months here in RI.
  • mba2dnamba2dna Posts: 8
    I just got the car for 5 days. Today I also received recall from the dealer. They said it is mainly for Auto gear. Anyway, they will do it to my car as well when I send back the car for 1000km routine checking.
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