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Mazda RX-8 Problems and Solutions



  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    Hello again fishnhand.

    Well I'll be waiting for good news on your popcorn rattle issue. I've brought up my popcorn rattle noise several times as a topics for discussion here, but everyone has either dismissed it as something else other than an engine noise or they've said that true per-ignition is massively manifested by pronounced power loss and check engine lights flashing which has never happened to me. But at this point, I'm totally convinced that the popcorn rattle is coming from the engine and it's related to overly rich fuel mix complexities.

    My small worry is that the popcorn rattle will get worse over time as a symptom of something critical, like an Apex seal breakdown. I doubt this, but it's still a small worry. Hopefully it's just a tweaking of the computer. Of course, my RX-8 AT is a Group 2 build with all the latest flashes done at the factory. I verified the vehicle ID number as being recall free before I bought it.

    Seriously, good luck. I'm definitely going to take action based on your experience. Thanks.
  • fishnhardfishnhard Posts: 20
    Hello again trispec,
    I agree that it is an over fueling problem, I am getting large puffs of black smoke form time to time when the rattle happens. I am also hoping it is just a computer flash or something simple to fix the problem. I have not heard of this problem in the manual trans. If I am wrong someone please let me know. I will post my results on Friday when I get the car back from the dealer. I just hope what I post is good news. Until then try to enjoy the ride all!! :shades:
  • Had the dealer check the A/C at the last oil change. They said a rock or other road debrie put a hole in the condencer.( $300.00 ) and $500. labor. Has Mazda come out with a guard for the condencer, I hate to have this happen again. " 04. AT,17k and no problems....YET " ;)
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,080
    You might want to just look for an aftermarket mesh grille insert. I had the very same thing happen on the wife's SUV. I bought a grille insert on Ebay the next day.

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

  • fishnhardfishnhard Posts: 20
    Hey all, I just a call back from my Mazda dealer regarding the popcorn/rattle noise we have talked about. Well I guess now there is an upgrade to the computer, but the catch is they have to pull the computer out and send it to Cali to get updated. The tech that has been working on my car was shocked when he heard the noise this morning. So I now have to take it back on the 15th of this month. So I will update again after that visit. I can still drive the car. At least I can still make the rotary get together tomorrow in Eastern Wa.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    Ugh. Well as a computer guy, I guess I'm more comfortable with a computer upgrade than an engine pull.

    A few questions:

    1) How did the service tech diagnose the problem?

    2) When does the black smoke appear and how do you see it?

    3) Is the carbon build up on the tail pipe particularly bad?

    Thanks, and good luck. I'm going to wait on taking action until you've gotten satisfaction.
  • fishnhardfishnhard Posts: 20
    Well for starters, we took the tech for a ride and the noise happened the first time we got on the gas and hit 5000 rpm. He said that is all he had to hear and that he has never heard an RX-8 make that noise. The black smoke appears at 5000 rpm, and in the regular automatic setting. Has not done it in the auto stick mode. About 3 out of 5 times when it make the rattle we get the smoke. He called the tech line and they told him there is an update for the computer but it can only be done in Cali. The dealerships can not do it. The carbon build up on the tail pipe is a normal condition on this car, it is for the most part a 2 stroke engine. It burns oil due to the oil injector. I hope that answered your questions. Hope to meet some of you today in Wenatchee.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    From a previous thread, I've been experimenting with mixing back and forth 89 octane and 93 octane Shell gas to test the correlation between the popcorn/rattle and the two octane levels.

    1) The popcorn/rattle (which could also be described as a gurgling sound as well) does appear to less noticed with more 89 octane gas.

    2) MPG does also appear to be better with 89 octane gas.
  • mmauller57mmauller57 Posts: 4
    Doesn't sound good I have a 2004 Maxda RX 8 and took it in for the same problem. They called me back and said I needed a new engine. I had over 68,000 miles on it and of course out of Warranty. They paid for the engine and I had to pay $1700.00 for having it installed. I feel like I have been bent over. The Rx8 has been nothing but a big head acke. It wouldn't start every winter. They experimented with trying to find out what the problem was. The Cashier told me if I were you I would trade it as soon as I could. She said she had been tell all of the 2004 owners the same a thing. I have had 4 mazda's and this is the first time that I feel like Mazda really is messing me over. They said they would give me a good trade in on it and try to make up the difference on what it cost me to replace the engine. I told them I use to work for National car rental and know what a good deal is not to mess me around and so the appointment I made has been delayed. My Advise is DON"T BUY MAZDA
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    This morning, I had occasion to use the warm-up for ten minutes and then rev to 3000 for 10 seconds, let off the gas and kill before engine spinning down completely. At least that's my shut down from cold start procedure.

    Anyway, I can't believe how smooth the engine starts after this procedure. Cold or hot, the rev for ten seconds then shut down, really does make for the smoothest quickest starts cold or hot. I'm guessing that computerized fuel mix gets nice and stable and then the shut off before spinning down really does burn up and pump out the remaining fuel to the greatest degree possible.

    Following the above proscribed procedure really makes starting my RX-8 AT, as close to turning on an electric engine as I can imagine.
  • lhesslhess Posts: 379
    The cashier must have very limited knowledge, I have a 2004 (July 03 build) with NO problems. I don't drive my car every day in the winter, but the few times I did, it started right up. Couple of times it was near 0. No noises, no smoke. It could happen tomorrow, but not yet...
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    RX-8 AT or MT. It's the AT's, I think, that have the gurgle/popcorn/rattle fairly consistently.
  • lhesslhess Posts: 379
  • I was under the impression that the rx8 didnt have a pcv valve, but I was checking the oil today and saw the vacuum line diagram on the underside of the hood and it shows a purge control valve on it. Does anyone have any idea where this is located? thanks.
  • lhesslhess Posts: 379
    out of the vent even when the temp control is turned on cool or blue on the dial. A couple of times I fixed it by hitting the AC button until it started blowing cold air, then flip the AC off, cool air from the vents. Now, it blows hot air even with the AC on and turned on cool. Hope this isn't the AC condenser like some folks have experienced. I noticed that they now have a guard available for it through Mazda and if I have to replace mine, I'm gonna have them put the guard on as well.

    I'm a little baffled about the vent (without AC on) is blowing HOT air, not just outside stale, stuffy air, it's heater hot? Waiting on my new brake kit to arrive, so I guess they can take a look at this as well.
  • fishnhardfishnhard Posts: 20
    Just thought I would give you all an update, my 8 went in Monday morning and I was support to have it back on Friday the 19th. Well when I called today, my computer was sitting on the guys desk in CA. So needless to say I will not have back when promised. The dealer proceed to tell us that our computer is I think the 7th one to have the update they are doing. I guess they are no longer going to cover this update under warranty! Sounds a bit off to me. I will hopefully have the car back on Tues the 23rd now. I just hope it fixes this or I will have not choice put to contact Mazda of North America again and find out what they are going to do about replacing this car with another. I dont think I will want another RX. Just has not set will with us. I love to drive it and it looks great, but at what cost.

    Will update again next week.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    Oh man, that hurts. I think I finally heard the Rattle/Popcorn/Marbles noise at the high end RPM above 5000. Previous to today, The noise I have been hearing at the lowing 2000-3500 RPM, is similar, but no where near as loud. I'd say what I heard today above 5000 RPM, was ten times louder. There were no check engine lights and there was no loss of power.

    Now one possible change is that I have been running 87 octane gas, plus AC on these warm spring days.
  • fishnhardfishnhard Posts: 20
    Well we got our RX-8 back today, and wow its like a total different RX!!! It is shifting better, the RPM's run up higher before shifting, and the rattle noise is gone. I just hope this will be the end of the problems with a new car. Other than maintenance. My wife is so happy when she got it back today. She was looking forward to driving her car again. Milam Mazda in Puyallup WA has done a really good job keeping up happy and getting the car fixed. So far all the problems we have encounter, the solution has come from there Tech line. Well now I get to go and have fun in our sports car!!!!! :shades:
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    Fantastic! So they just shipped the computer back for a new flash, or did they give you a whole new computer?

    My RX-8 AT has always revved fairly high on hard take offs, 5-6K RPM on full automatic before the 1st and 2nd gear shift. You didn't get that behavior before?
  • fishnhardfishnhard Posts: 20
    Well from what they told us, they did some kind of flash in CA and then put in a test car to make sure the flash worked. My rpm's where 5-6 range but now it jumped it to 7 when you put your foot into it! My wife said its like a different car. Much more responsive than before and seems to shift better. All I know is I am glad to have it back.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    Wow. I don't think mine's ever been to 7K on full auto. Hmm. Was your RX-8 2005 made after July 2005?
  • fishnhardfishnhard Posts: 20
    I belive mine was made in Aug of 05. I will double check and let you know.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    From the Mazda web site, there still are no recalls on the RX-8 AT made after July 05. I wonder if they are just waiting for more rattle/popcorn/marble folks to come forward. Although there are times, when the rattle/popcorn/marble is less, lower octane fuel fill ups help, the noise never goes away completely in the 2500-3500 RPM range. It's only rarely, once so far, loudly noticeable above 5000 RPM.

    I did your other stress test, punching her off the line as hard as she would go in full auto mode. Going up a slight hill stretch, she got to 6500 RPM before she shifted. Going down a slight hill she got to 7000 RPM before the shift. On a flat stretch she also got to 7000 RPM. The shifts were smooth, with no rattle/popcorn/marble that I could tell at least and I was the only passenger. I also had the AC turned off, although I think AC would would let go automatically under heavy take offs like that. I had 93 octane Shell from my favorite station in the gas tank.

    I'm gonna still wait for your more long term results before acting. I've got a trip to Maine planned for July. There are some nice road trips up there, with lots of dips and curves that'll let the true sports car nature of the RX-8 shine.
  • ceej818ceej818 Posts: 1
    I recently ran over a curb... I know, dumb. But I just got my car back and the dealership/insurance company says my car suspension is "within tolerances". The left side is at the bottom end of the tolerance and the right side is at the top end. In other words my car sits with the left rear end lower than the right. They are telling me there is no adjustment needed... But it's obvious to the untrained eye, that it's been wrecked. All they did was replace the wheels and a control bar in the front end. Is there anything I can to do adjust the rear end so it sits level??? Any help would desperately be appreciated. Thanks.
  • lhesslhess Posts: 379
    for his new brake job. Hopefully no more screaming to a stop at all the lites and signs. This is supposedly the absolute newest brake kit that Mazda is trying to get these squealers to shut up for good.

    Also, my heater control unit has been on back-order (because there's a bunch of them out there screwing up) and it has arrived as well. No more pot luck on whether we're enjoying hot or cold air on any given day!!
  • murfbearmurfbear Posts: 17
    I bought a 2006 RX-8 Shinka 6-SP all options except for NAV, Awesome color in the Copper Red that has been Polished to a blinding shine, and the attractive suade cream color leather seats now has 51 miles, I have looked for a airfilter for the 2006's and can not find any, stock or performance air filter. K&N, Airaid, Green, ETC. I really don't want to install a cold air intake yet, because I don't want to interfer or break up the way the engine covers conceal the engine. Extra H/P would be intersting maybe around an extra 10-15 H/P? Any ideas where to get a simple air filter replacement? By the way I really like this car!
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    I don't think you'll get more HP with an air filter change (or even with a "cold air intake") but if it makes you -think- you have more HP then that's fine. There is a Mazdaspeed "high flow" air filter, available from the dealers. It's expensive - be warned!
  • fishnhardfishnhard Posts: 20
    You can get a few more HP. Here is the link to show the facts on it
    The price on the other hand to me is not worth the 10 hp. Then again it is your car. I am waiting till the warranty runs out before I do anything but body mods.
  • joedirtjoedirt Posts: 36
    Hey all.

    Just wanted to let all RX-8 owners know that there will soon be a turbo kit available that brings the RX-8 horsepower up to 390.

    It was featured in this month's Car & Driver magazine:
  • mfentonmfenton Posts: 9
    Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I have to say that I could not be happier with Customer Relations at Mazda. I just purchased a 2006 Phantom Blue RX-8 AT w/ GT package. I LOVE THIS CAR!!! Well, with not even 450 miles and less than 2 weeks of ownership I ran over something on our lovely Los Angeles freeways and got a flat. Roadside Assistance came right out and plugged the flat, but told me to get to my Mazda dealership and get it repaired properly. Went the next day and when they took the tire off they told me that the damage could not be repaired and that I would need a brand new tire! Of course I was furious and while I know quite a bit about cars, I wasn't sure if I was being taken and because my wife drives the car with our daughter in it I didn't want to take a chance. So of course I dished out the $350.00 for the new tire. I emailed Madza and received a quick response and although the tire is not covered under warranty they are going to reimburse me for the cost of the tire. So as of right now, I am very pleased with they way Mazda takes care of the customers. Just thought I would share. :)
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