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Bent-Valve Reader
8/12/18 10:28 p.m.

So according to tradition, I guess, I am supposed to start a thread BEFORE I buy the car.

Tomorrow morning, or Tuesday at the latest, I will go purchase my Unicorn, an RX-8.

From what I have found out, the engine smoked, had metal in the oil, and is generally toasted, hence "Smoky". I think the body is one of the better ones I have bought in a non running car, so there is "the Magnificent". Of course there is some black magic inherent in any rotary engine, so there is the "Magic Spinning Doritos"

Yes, I am stupid, I sold a perfectly good car to buy a, well, a questionable car.

It comes with a spare motor that is supposed to be good. Of course I could just stuff it in and hope. It would qualify for the $2018 Challenge as I am getting it for less than that.

Or I can tear the "good" motor apart, put new apex seals etc in it. Then if I have new seals, Mazdatrix sells a template to port said motor....

Ah but I digress, the first step is to get it home. I shall not sleep tonight....



RossD MegaDork
8/13/18 7:57 a.m.

Congrats! At least you don't have to worry about a "Bent-Valve"! wink

Bent-Valve Reader
8/14/18 10:05 p.m.

Ok, so I got the RX-8 today.

The Good ----

With it came all the receipts from when it was new in a folder, window sticker from the dealer and other Mazda memorabilia. Also I got the spare motor and the parts box:

And the car that sat for 2 years still rolls and with a little help popped up onto the trailer pretty easy. In the process of chaining it down:

The Bad ---

It doesn't run, at all. It does smoke as it grinds and coughs. It sounds ROUGH!

The Ugly ---

I had to crawl out the window because the door didn't quite clear the fender. Yes I could roll it forward but it was balanced pretty good here, so when I got home I had to get back in:

And no I wasn't (quite) stuck in that last shot. Really. Ok, well... Fine, so maybe my leg was tangled at a weird angle under the steering wheel... I am not as limber as I used to be. Note -- I hope you laugh as much as I did. wink

The Really Ugly ---

It has 90K miles, it had the motor replaced by the dealer at 56k and it is now toast again, so 40 to 50k per motor. I found a 5W20 oil can in the trunk, which is apparently too light of an oil. The PO did keep all the paperwork and most of the service was done at Mazda.

Since I paid $2000 for everything I had a brief idea to try and do the $2018 challenge by just stuffing the motor in. It is supposed to be good. I am not sure I can get it in the car for $18 without killing a good specimen. Also I saw a thread here which I can't find now, it was great RX-7 put back like new and it sort of inspired me.

Agent98 Reader
8/15/18 11:01 a.m.

(the Dukes of Hazzard made vehicle entry look so easy.....)

you could sell all kinds of parts off of it to make the $2018, but it looks too nice to do that.

LS1 swap? perhaps


looking at Atkins rotary those gasket sets aren't all that cheap for the Triangle twirler

codrus GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/15/18 1:24 p.m.

Heh, the Dukes had it easy, a '69 Charger has a much larger window gap than any modern car.  I probably looked like that the first time I tried to climb in the window of my Miata (with hard top on) in the trailer. :)  If you're going to be towing it a lot, one option is to put down some 2x8s on the trailer deck to drive the car onto so that the door will clear the fender.

So what's the story on the "good" motor?  Given that you're thinking it might need new seals, I assume it's a used motor out of another car?  How many miles are on it?


Bent-Valve Reader
8/15/18 3:28 p.m.

Ok, so PO drove it to shop not running great. Shop looked at it and told him new motor. At some point after the motor was ordered PO backed out. Shop doesn't specialize in Magic Spinning Doritos so it just sat for 2 years until I saw the motor sitting in the shop. The title got swapped to the shop (for payment?) and now to me, no drama at all.

So presumably its a good enough motor to just stick in the car. I don't know where the shop got it from but it was going in the customers car and they are not known for churning out crap.

I don't know if it needs new apex, etc seals, I just was going to be sure it was good before I dropped it in. But the idea of getting it running makes me want to just drop it in.

So plans from here: Fix Greti first.....

Pyro kind of liked the third car thing, since I sold the Miata to get this she wants Greti running and that won't take too long.


  • Clean up, but don't dissemble the good Doritos sandwich.
  • Flush the oil cooling system on the car.
  • Install the "good" motor so I have a running car.
  • If it has low compression I can find another engine to build.

The down side is I start a new job Monday and will be gone quite a bit, so it may take a while to get all of this done. The up side is I will have money to do all of this!


Bent-Valve Reader
8/15/18 7:00 p.m.

I suddenly remembered all the paperwork, the engine is from a wrecked car with 99k miles. He paid $2300 for the engine, which is why he wouldn't come down any when I tried to bargain. He gave me ALL the paperwork.

But it means I will be taking it apart and checking it out. It may run, but it has wear. Also it was a stateside yard, not JDM.

wvumtnbkr GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/15/18 7:46 p.m.

I don't think I'd take it apart.  Get it in the car if it makes the appropriate whooshes when turning by hand.  


Take the engine that comes out apart.


100k doesn't mean it is a bad engine.  

codrus GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/15/18 7:53 p.m.

My impression is that 100K is kind of a lot for a renesis motor, but I've never owned one.

Can you hook up a starter to it on the engine stand to do a compression test?

Bent-Valve Reader
8/16/18 8:39 a.m.

makes the appropriate whooshes

I hung it up, pulled the plugs and sprayed oil in the intakes and spark plug holes. Spun it, spins freely, not grinding or anything and makes "whooshes", appropriate? I don't know.

Couldn't get a picture, but there is carbon on the rotors. Also it is a Mazda reman in '07 according to tag.



Agent98 Reader
8/16/18 10:25 a.m.

Be warned:

can't do a compression test the same way as with a piston engine....



wvumtnbkr GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/16/18 10:51 a.m.



berkeley it run em

Bent-Valve Reader
8/16/18 12:36 p.m.

Fast, Inexpensive, Restrained, and Elegant ? Maybe? Had to look that one up.

Yeah I have come to the conclusion I am just going to pop it in there. There will be a slight, unavoidable delay.

Bent-Valve Reader
8/19/18 10:15 p.m.

I made a impromptu crank with an offset wrench, sockets and a bolt. Checked the "whooshes" then I inquired with several knowledgeable individuals and decided to pop it in.

Pyro was busy, uh, cough, cleaning, cough cough, the barn so we would have a place to work. Not visible is Ziggy, the kitten in her lap.

Then in a strong drizzle we push, pulled, tugged, and grunted getting Smoky in the barn. Before you ask, the ATV is dead. I have to get a complete charging system or I would have used it to pull it in.

After getting soaked we popped the hood off and stored it.

Got the first parts pulled out.

And that is as far as we got. It will sit for a week. My work got pushed back a day is the only reason we got this done.


BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/19/18 10:30 p.m.

Good to see another RX8 on here. What year is yours? I have a complete set of OEM paper shop manuals for an 06 that I'm trying to sell and I'd be happy to sell them at a GRMer discount.

BTW, 100k on a Renesis doesn't necessary mean it's worn. The one I had had about 110k on it when I bought it and the compression was still in spec. Once I did the ignition parts and started feeding it a bit of two stroke oil it did run rather good and never exhibited signs of low compression even when I drove it 1/2 mile to a gas station on a cold engine and shut it off, followed by the slowly forming thought of "oh shiiiiiiiiiiit". Started at first crank.

wvumtnbkr GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/20/18 6:34 a.m.
wvumtnbkr said:



berkeley it run em

The "f" word gets turned into berkeley on this forum.


This stands for "F" It Run Em.

Bent-Valve Reader
8/20/18 7:06 a.m.

<head slap>

And I call my self observant.....

Bent-Valve Reader
8/22/18 10:19 a.m.

Long story short. Got some time, tried to get more done,

I had been warned by reading about others doing this!


One word, RockAuto.

codrus GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
8/22/18 11:30 a.m.

If it broke that easily then you needed to replace it anyway.


Bent-Valve Reader
8/25/18 9:15 p.m.
codrus said:

If it broke that easily then you needed to replace it anyway.


Well I had read that you "shouldn't grab the hose with a pair of pliers and twist to break the hose loose" or you will break the plastic barb.

So I was talking to Pyro and working and I grabbed the hose with a pair of pliers and twisted to break the hose loose. . . and I broke the plastic barb. Brain dead moment I guess.

Pyro loves to shop for tools, and she loves me and I needed a new jack. I wouldn't have bought the cross bar lift part but it makes it so easy to lift one end of the car.

And that made it a snap to get the car up off the ground. I still have to get some reinforced concrete pads to put the jack stands on.

The front tires need to come off to get some of the motor mount bolts easily. Right now the front tires are sitting on solid blocks.

And being my first rotary and with lots of connections I am numbering and photographing the harness. I am almost ready to lift the engine.

A bit of corrosion on the thermostat housing and a few other tid bits I will be taking care of in a week or so.

Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/25/18 11:01 p.m.

Getting the engine out of the top is possible. It's just not easy until you do it the first time and learn the arcane tilts and wiggles you're going to have to use, and it has to come out at a steep angle. Unbolt it from the transmission for sure.

And if it will save you any trouble, as you're putting in a different engine: make sure the aligning dowels for the engine and transmission aren't doubled up. I made that mistake once- donor engine had a dowel in it and the transmission had a dowel in the same place



Bent-Valve Reader
8/26/18 9:06 a.m.

I am bringing it out the top, I found a guide on pulling a Renesis. He mentioned that the wiggle / tilt was a bit of a pain. I have an idea for a compact engine leveler. I am going to build it and if it works I will post details.

Thanks for the heads up on the dowel!

Being down behind the front axle and the compact size with all the fuel / electrical / controls packed on top add to the difficultly. I am not going to rush, well, too much. I do want to drive it, but you're right the learning curve on getting one out is steep.

Bent-Valve Reader
9/1/18 4:06 p.m.

If you are going to pull a Renesis 13B don't try to unhook the wiring harness. Wrap it on the engine and pull it out.  Its easy to unhook the manual transmission wiring and the PCM stuff, trying to get the fuel electronics etc unhooked was killing my fingers. I can transfer the wiring harness once the engine is out.

The only thing holding the engine right now are bell housing bolts and motor mounts.

I didn't like the chain I used on the Miata engine, and most engine levelers are bulky. So I thought up this leveler that is compact and easy to replicate.

Hardware was less than $6 and I had the 3/4 inch steel rod.

I drilled multiple holes so it could be adjusted. Put a pin in the next hole, pull the one holding the washer and it can be moved. Common sense needs to be used with it, an engine could tip completely up if you don't have a pin to catch the slide. Renesis are not big so I figured this would work.

It clears the fire wall without banging into it. Its low and snug across the engine. I'll pull the engine later this weekend, right now a Chinese Buffet is calling my name.....





Bent-Valve Reader
9/1/18 11:29 p.m.

Maybe not later this weekend.  blush

Pyro and I got it out with minor injuries like smacking my knee with all my might and a 1/2 drive ratchet with a cheater pipe as I broke the motor mounts loose.

So I have been cut, bled and been bruised working on Smoky, so by my motto "it's not yours until you bleed for it" I truly own this car.

Engine leveler worked, needs refinement. 

With luck next weekend I will be putting the "good" engine back in.

Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/2/18 1:19 p.m.

You're making great progress, good work.

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