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Mazda RX-8 Problems and Solutions



  • lhesslhess Posts: 379
    I live in WV and have a yellow MT (04, of course) and I have no complaints with my A/C. Granted, we don't have the high temps that some of you have, but we get humidity like crazy. I have found that if I set my A/C to the "recirculating" setting (hope I have that right, it's the button on the bottom part of the circle that either recirculates the air or pulls it in from outside), it helps a bunch with the amount of air that comes out and it's colder. also, I rarely use the A/C, I'm a windows-down type girl.

    The squeaking brakes did drive me nuts, but my dealer was helpful in getting it fixed and that's all you can expect from your dealer - do their best to fix it.
  • Yes, I realize that some owners may never have any problems with the RX-8 just like some owners of the Millenia have had major problems. However, I like to play the odds. Consumer Reports states the RX-8 is one of the most unreliable cars based upon feedback from owners or lessors. If they don't have a large enough sample, then CR doesn't offer an opinion.
    So why would I want to buy one and take the chance of major problems together with poor mileage?
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305 6.htm

    Not sure what you're see'n. Looks like the RX-8 2005 is pretty solid according to CR at the above link.
  • mdw1000mdw1000 Posts: 171
    Yeah, if you get the latest car issue, the 2005 RX-8 is super reliable. The mileage does stink, but that's a rotary engine thing. I'm averaging anywhere between 15 and 18, depending on how I drive.

    tripsec and others, I've got a rattle question. I'm wondering if my rattle is the same as your popcorn rattle. I've noticed that sometimes around 2.5 or 3K, generally while accelerating, that I get a metallic rattle that sounds like it is coming from the engine. Is this what you are talking about?

  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    Yep, it is a metallic rattle. No pattern or rhythm, kind of gurgle or popcornish in it's randomness? Seems worse after driving in stop and go traffic? Can be especially heard when sitting next to a jersey barrier as the engine noise bounces back.

    Mine seems almost non-existant when just gently accelerating on a cold start. Then after the engine has warmed up, the popcorn rattle comes back on a strong acceleration.
  • mdw1000mdw1000 Posts: 171
    I think we are talking about the same thing, although mine is pretty faint. I'm not sure if mine is normal engine noise or not. Going to have the dealer service guys listen to it sometime.
  • Hey Moadh,
    Can you help me with something? I live in Dubai and I am crazy about RX-8s. I've a mint condition used one in Aweer car lot. It was imported from the States and has done only 3000Km. It has the new Renesis engine too. What I want to know is how does the car perform in dubai heat? Does it heat up in the traffic here? I have a 120 Km daily commute and I want to use it as an everyday car. I've heard the engine needs a lot of looking after, such as an oil change at every third fuel stop. Let me know what your experience is with the car. I really want to buy it and this is the only thing holding me back.

    Thanks for all the help.
  • Hi,

    Good to see experts on this board being still active. I came back to get advice on something I just noticed yesterday. I have a 2004 MT RX-8, and when I start from still, I feel very subtle vibration, probably from clutch pedal. When the car is warmed up, I feel that it kind of disappears. Does this sound like clutch slipping? If so, do I need to replace the clutch? I bought the car used about a year ago and I don't think my driving is particularly bad, though I find that with rotary's low-end torque, I need to rev the engine higher than before to start the car. Thanks in advance.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Have a mechanic check the clutch. It can be checked without removing it. It may just be an adjustment.

    Usually a worn clutch is seen as slipping in lower gears (foot on floor, not clutch - slips when accellerating). Vibration from the clutch would be a warped flywheel. If it goes away when warm then it's not warped - warped flywheels stay that way over normal operating temps. It can also be caused by oil on the clutch plate. This often causes sticking (with clutch depressed, you have trouble getting the car in gear when stopped). The oil is viscous enough to spin the transmission even though the clutch has disengaged it. The mechanic can also check for this without removing the clutch. There is an inspection plate.
  • murfbearmurfbear Posts: 17
    I bought my 2006 RX-8 recently and I have questions about the R-2 engine life span, and how to extend that value with out to much trouble, but have had little response toward my posts. Any useable information on your end?
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Actually I was wrong. Been a long time since I've had a slipping clutch. It slips in -higher- gears, typically in full throttle uphill climbs, say 3rd or 4th gear to start with. This is because in lower gears the transmission lowers the torque requirement from the engine as it multiplies it to the rear wheels. In higher gears you tend to use the full torque of the engine. This slipping can be seen as RPM "hunting" on the tach, and it rapidly (over a few weeks) gets worse because the slipping wears the clutch even faster, until you finally have trouble taking off from a stop.

    It depends on the driver, but my clutches have lasted the life of my cars (10+ years).
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Change the oil and filter per the owners manual.
    Change coolant every 2 years if using ethylene glycol (green stuff) or every 5 years if using propylene glycol. Higher concentrations of glycol will reduce corrosion. I use 50/50.
    Replace belts when they show cracks on the ribs.
    NEVER overheat the car, and NEVER run low on oil.
    Although Mazda do not recommend synthetic oil, some owners swear by it. It -may- extend the engine life.
    Engine life is greatly affected by what RPMs the engine sees. Don't cruise below 3000 RPM, and for maximim life don't operate above 7000 RPM for extended periods. DO occasionally allow the engine to reach red line.
    Short trips (1-3 mi) will shorten engine life if done repeatedly.

    Enjoy the car. Normally aspirated modern rotary engines should go at least 200,000 mi. if cared for.
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    I add a quart when the oil gets into the last quarter. Sometimes I add half quarts if it's at the half way line. Should I be more religious about topping her off.

    Otherwise I try to use the full rev range on occasion. I drive over 3000 lots of times especially on the highway. But in town driving, unless I only shift manually, the RPM's are constantly dropping to 1500.
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    The oil should just not be allowed to go too low (below the add line). The renesis holds a lot of oil. When you drain it, you are actually only removing about 2/3. The rest is in the oil coolers etc. The oil actually provides about 1/3 of the engine cooling. It's 100% of the cooling for the rotors.

    Autos are hard on the renesis, due to the low revs. they induce. Still, they seem to last. The only real reason to keep the revs up is to burn out the injection oil carbon, so it doesn't build up and jam the apex seals or a piece breaks off and jams the rotor. Well, in the renesis you also don't want to clog the exhaust ports.

    Rotaries are funny in that the apex seals work so much better at higher RPM until they start to "flutter", but that doesn't happen until above the 9000 RPM redline and never in an auto as it can't reach 9000. If you get a chance to take a manual over 9000 RPM you can see in the exhaust when the seals flutter. You get lots of smoke when you release the throttle. It's good for it occasionally, as it tends to clean it out. It can shorten the engine life though if you do it too much. A rotary with a lot of miles on it (150,000+) should never be reved like that. The apex seals wear thin and will break. Not a good thing, especially at high RPM. ;)

    Even worse for the older turbos as the pieces of apex seal will go out the exhaust and also take out the turbo(s). $3000-$4000 for the engine, $2500-$3500 for the turbos. A "bad day". :( Luckely I've only read others sad tales. (knocking on wood)!
  • The 2006 Consumer Reports annual car issue, which came out in April, reported that the RX-8's reliability has improved to the point where they can recommend the car to prospective buyers.

    I bought a new RX-8 6-speed in June 2005. I now have almost 9000 miles on it, and except for an aftermarket Lojack-type system that the dealer talked me into (and caused the battery to go dead 5 times in 8 months), the car has been perfect. Mazda removed the GPS system and refunded the money to me, and also gave me a new battery at no charge. I love the car - I'm not a real leadfoot but I get 23 mpg at steady 75-mph cruising, and never less than 18 mpg around town, even with the AC on (during Arizona summers!). Just my opinion, but from reading some of these posts, most of the problems reported seem to be on the first-year 2004 model. Also, someone mentioned that using synthetic oil is OK - every Mazda dealer I've spoken to says you'll end up needing a new engine. I have to trust their word, I only use Valvoline 5W-20 non-synthetic - why risk something else?
  • trispectrispec Posts: 305
    I've changed my technique for driving my 2005 RX-8 AT in Boston. Now am focusing on the seemingly opposing goals of keeping the RPM levels around 3000 while holding the line on gas millage at 15MPG for my pure city stop and go traffic commute.

    First, running in manual mode I shift to second very quickly, using first only to get the car moving to 8-10MPH. Take offs are nice and slow up to 17MPH. Then at 17MPH I hit the resume cruise which is preset at 35MPH. I let the cruise control take the speed from 17MPH up to 35MPH. I leave the tranny in 2nd the entire cruise portion and repeat the process at every stop and go leg of the commute.

    I believe using cruise to finish the acceleration and to cruise around the city is the best way to minimize the waste of gas that acceleration causes. I don't think there's much difference in MPG cruising around at 3000RPM in 2nd vs cruising around at 2000-1500RPM in 3rd or 4th respectively.

    Plus the above technique seems to nearly eliminate completely, the popcorn/rattle I hear during low RPM acceleration.
  • I just recently had my RX8 serviced and they flashed the PC with then new software, and after that I started having the popcorn noise and loss of power the same day I picked it up, called them told them and they said to come right back the next morning, but when got there is was no longer happening, they said it could just be the pc re-learning how i drive, so I went and bought some octane boost with a new tank of premium fuel, and the problem went away, and i thought the problem was solved, last night i filled up again without the octane boost and the noise came back, loss of power again, so i stopped in and picked up the octane boost, put it in and the problem stopped right away, so I have come to the conclusion that it is the poor quality of gas, and with some octane boost or better gas your noise and power problem will be resolved! Let me know if it works for anyone else!
  • moadhmoadh Posts: 15
    So i was on my summer vacation for the entire month of July (in aussieland ;)).. while i was away i had asked my brother to warm up my 8 every 2-3 days. Apparently he had done so for sometime until one day the car wouldn't start, when i got back i tried to ignite but the car would just keep trying to ignite without really getting to the final stage where the engine starts-- just draining the battery pretty much.

    My guess was that the engine had flooded, so i followed the steps in the owner's manual for flooded engines.. didn't really work! are my spark plugs busted? im quite worried!
  • pathstar1pathstar1 Posts: 1,015
    Nothing to be worried about. The plugs may be fouled. You can remove them and clean or replace them. Note that the upper ones are different than the lower ones - Trailing plugs on top, Leading plugs lower is how I remember it. There is one of each for each rotor - four plugs total. They aren't hard to reach from above on the RX-8 - just push the hoses back by the firewall out of the way.

    To start the car, fully charge the battery.

    Hold the accel. pedal to the floor and crank the engine in 20 sec. bursts, with about a minute between to let the starter cool down. Keep the pedal to the floor during all of this - this keeps the PCM (computer) from injecting any more fuel. This can take 5 min. or more of work.

    When the engine fires release the pedal fully and let it start. Once it starts you may have to use the pedal to keep it running, as one or more plugs will probably be fouled (unless you fixed that first). Once it starts to warm up the plugs should clear.

    To clear a really badly flooded rotary, first pull one plug on each rotor and squirt a shot of oil in there (just a cc or so), and turn over the engine (pedal to the floor). Then replace the plugs and proceed as above. This improves the apex sealing and allows the engine to push out the excess fuel. Note that when it starts the oil will create a large cloud of smoke so don't panic.
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