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Driven5
Driven5 HalfDork
3/4/15 11:41 a.m.

I think about it all the time...Then I remember that my personal requirements for an awesome daily driver don't allow for a high maintenance gas guzzler, and I have no space/time/budget for another project to remedy the situation.

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke Dork
3/4/15 11:54 a.m.
Driven5 wrote: I think about it all the time...Then I remember that my personal requirements for an awesome daily driver don't allow for a high maintenance gas guzzler.

If you get an early one and upgrade the coils it really isn't high maintenance IMO. Spark plugs are easy to do and are probably a yearly thing. Depends how you drive it.

B. Choate
B. Choate GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/4/15 11:55 a.m.

I could really see one as the perfect weekend car - except for the headroom. I'm only 5'-10" but have a fairly long torso. In my 2nd jen with sunroof (almost all were made that way), I had to recline the seat not to hit the ceiling without my helmet on! I don't want to feel my hair hitting the ceiling, and I don't want to adopt a weird driving position to clear a helmet. You'd think that after 40+ years of doing business with us, the Japanese would make sure that their car comfortably fits 90 percent of American men. But then, I'm not sure that the American companies always do this either

Rufledt
Rufledt SuperDork
3/4/15 12:43 p.m.

I see a lot of gas concerns. I had none, my previous vehicle (which I still have and drive) gets worse mileage, if you can believe that.

bruceman
bruceman Reader
3/4/15 12:45 p.m.

I've been driving mine, an 05 with 130K onit, through this winter. 19MPG, have to flush the heater core every 3 weeks so the heat works, otherwise with snow tires on and TC off was able to drive through 12" of snow without getting stuck. I would not consider it unreliable especially since I rebuilt the engine after purchasing it a few years ago

fidelity101
fidelity101 SuperDork
3/4/15 12:59 p.m.

Everyday. Or nearly everyday.

RX Reven'
RX Reven' Dork
3/4/15 2:35 p.m.

FWIW, I’ve averaged 21.4 mpg over the course of my 2005 RX-8’s 226,000 mile history.

Admittedly, well over 90% of those miles were steady state freeway driving but dang, you other RX-8 owners are reporting horrible mileage numbers.

I know I drive less aggressively than I used to but you guys must be treating your throttles like an on/off switch.

HiTempguy
HiTempguy UberDork
3/4/15 2:41 p.m.

http://mazdaofchicagoland.com/Evanston/For-Sale/Used/Mazda/RX-8/2010-R3-LS2-V8-Blue-Car/30066415/

This, this one right here. Needs to be about $10k less though...

Tyler H
Tyler H GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/4/15 3:10 p.m.
bruceman wrote: I would not consider it unreliable especially since I rebuilt the engine after purchasing it a few years ago

Quote for irony.

I get the appeal and I think, as a whole, we're a group with a much higher tolerance for mechanical quirks. I browsed through Craigslist within 300mi of my house and the RX8 inventory is full of automatics, blown engines, and bring-a-trailer. Nice ones are still Real Car Money.

I'm fine with the possibility of catastrophic engine failure, but not for Real Car Money.

JtspellS
JtspellS SuperDork
3/4/15 3:30 p.m.

The problem is this car needs to stretch it's legs to live a long life, those who buy an automatic are not going to do that, and if they do the auto is the low output engine and is limited to about 7k rpm, all of that is a set up for failure.

tomtomgt356
tomtomgt356 GRM+ Memberand New Reader
3/4/15 4:08 p.m.

In reply to JtspellS:

I believe the low power/rpm for the automatics was just the first 2-3 years. In 06 or 07 they gave the autos the same engine as the manuals. That being said, your comment about the driving style of people who would buy an automatic RX is spot on. These engines need to be run hard. I once had a used car dealer ask me what it would take for me to buy an automatic RX8. My response was "An amputated leg and brain damage."

Rufledt
Rufledt SuperDork
3/4/15 4:14 p.m.

the later RX8's did have the same engine in the autos as the manuals, but they were still limited to 7k rpm.

Swank Force One
Swank Force One MegaDork
3/4/15 4:33 p.m.
tomtomgt356 wrote: In reply to JtspellS: I believe the low power/rpm for the automatics was just the first 2-3 years. In 06 or 07 they gave the autos the same engine as the manuals. That being said, your comment about the driving style of people who would buy an automatic RX is spot on. These engines need to be run hard. I once had a used car dealer ask me what it would take for me to buy an automatic RX8. My response was "An amputated leg and brain damage."

I've had similar dealings with auto RX8s.

"Hi, i'm here to test drive the manual RX8 you have."

"Oh that's at another location right now, would you like to drive this auto one?"

"...... Absolutely not."

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/4/15 5:11 p.m.

Put me in the camp for people thinking about RX8s daily, if only I could find a good 'un for the money I'm willing to pay.

They're pretty expensive out here and there's a lot of junk under $10k.

oldtin
oldtin UberDork
3/4/15 5:17 p.m.

Not a fan of the looks, but I did a skip barber class and these were the wet skid pad cars. Lots of fun to do donuts in.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/4/15 6:55 p.m.

I haven't had that thought sine I bought mine in 07. I have had a serious desire to drive one for the past 3 or so months, though. In fact, I'd be happy to even see it through the snow pile at this point...

The0retical
The0retical HalfDork
3/5/15 3:40 a.m.
JtspellS wrote: Yep, it's why I still own it, the MPG has made me think once or twice about getting rid of it but then I bought a protege for daily duty. If by chance you do want to get one the S1 is much more tuner friendly and many more of them out there but as others have said 06-08 are the ones you want (04-05 had build issues) The S2 (what I have) is improved in almost every way and is a much more civil and reliable car but not as much of an aftermarket (you can use most S1 parts but not all) so I guess it depends what you want more.

Can you elaborate on the build issues? There's a ton of the 04 to 05's for sale for dirt cheap here. Just curious if it's the engine (known issue) or something else.

lateapexer
lateapexer New Reader
3/5/15 6:06 a.m.

Had the thought, bought one. Liked it so much that I daily drive it and I'm eager to get the sticky rubber on it so I can play. If it ever gets above zero again!

JtspellS
JtspellS SuperDork
3/5/15 6:40 a.m.

In reply to The0retical:

The engine build on the 04-05s can be poor but 06-08 had improvements and the 09+ had a metric E36 M3 ton more then any of the others.

The only other major issue to look out for are transmission issues in the S1's if they have been tracked (the old trans don't handle track days too well but auto-x just fine) and the biggest annoyance thing I've had from there has been the fish bowl tail lights.

Also someone help me out but in the past few years there has been a buyer's guide and a quick look in issues of GRM.

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 SuperDork
3/5/15 1:11 p.m.

I have an 04 w/sunroof. Engine replaced under warranty at 98,000, now has 150,000 on it. No engine issues but I do drive it kinda hard, I use it as it's designed to be used. Only issues I've had/have is the clutch pedal bracket cracked (common) and fixed with a kit, now better than new. The coolant level sensor is intermittent, live with that as $$ to replace the tank w/built in sensor. Right rear TPMS receiver is damaged causing blinking light after warm-up. Use it to let me know when the tires are warm enough to push the limits. And the heater temp is either full hot or full cold, adjustment doesn't work. Haven't figured that one out yet, think it's the rheostat. MPG's could be better but gets about the same or better than all my co-workers pickup trucks and SUV's. Plus they complain about the difficulty getting in and out of it so they always offer to drive when we go out for lunch. I'm 5'11" and when I autocrossed it my helmeted head would just barely clear the sunroof with the seat all the way down and slightly reclined. Relegated to DD use now as I autocross my Miata now. Haven't had any reliability issues with the RX8. Do regular maintenance and drive it like it's designed to be driven and it has been reliable for me. (knock on wood )

I know this is GRM and we are into swaps here but sometimes I wonder why no love in just rebuilding the rotary? Simple enough mechanically although I do know it's $$$ but should cost about the same as a LS-swap with everything that has to be changed. Plus would give a chance to possibly add a snail or two, maybe the twin sequential system from an FD. Or maybe swap in a 20B.

Tyler H
Tyler H GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
3/5/15 1:44 p.m.

I see a consistent theme here and on classified ads: "My RX-8 has been really reliable, especially after that engine rebuild..." "My RX-8 gets great gas mileage...especially compared to a 7000# pickup or city bus."

It's called denial.

Now lest you think I'm trolling, here's where I am: This car must be fan-fricken-tastic to drive. I take this rotary denial as a glowing endorsement for the car and I really want to drive one now.

So..how about RX-8 resurrection stories, like RX-7s of yore? Can you find one of these that won't start, pull the plugs and put in some ATF, drag it behind a truck at 75mph until it runs and then drive the dog E36 M3 out of it and resurrect it?

JohnyHachi6
JohnyHachi6 Dork
3/5/15 2:17 p.m.

I have very mixed thoughts on the RX8 as a daily driver. However, I REALLY don't understand all the comments about gas mileage. Have any of you run the numbers on the cost savings for a 30 mpg car vs 20 mpg? If you have a 45 mile commute (round trip - long in my book) that you drive 5 times a week, 50 weeks a year, and gas is $3 a gallon, then you're saving ~$560 a year. I'm not going to say that's totally insignificant, but the difference in insurance cost moving to a 4-door car (RX8) could easily be on that same order of magnitude.

My GF daily drives our RX8 (gets about 18-20 mpg) and I DD my '85 celica or '90 miata (usually get 20-22 mpg), that's only a 10% difference! (we both have urban commutes)

As far as maintenance goes, I think they're solidly below average. Ours has gone through an engine (covered under warranty), engine mounts (covered under warranty), transmission, radiator, catalytic converter (covered under warranty), coilpacks, alternator, clutch pedal (covered under recall/warranty) and other crap I'm forgetting in 100k miles.

If you can find one with a relatively new engine, I think they are solid deals at the moment though, despite the issues.

Other gripes: definitely not much room with the sunroof. At 6'0 I can barely squeeze in with a helmet on and have to recline the seat more than I'd like. If it were my DD, I'd just modify the seat to sit a little lower, not a big deal. I also agree that they really aren't happy doing stop-and-go city driving for long periods of time. The car is balky and it's just no fun. It really does just want to run. Ever tried to ride a race horse at a trot? It's just like that - just tugging at the reigns, wanting to stretch its legs.

Would I do it again? Yeah, I think so. The GF loves it and it's super fun on the track and very fun/competitive in regional autox. Also, not too hard/expensive to find most parts.

bgkast
bgkast GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/5/15 2:40 p.m.

I loved mine, but not the fuel mileage. I get 9 to 10 mpg better with the Miata I replaced it with.

wlkelley3
wlkelley3 SuperDork
3/5/15 2:49 p.m.
Tyler H wrote: I see a consistent theme here and on classified ads: "My RX-8 has been really reliable, especially after that engine rebuild..." "My RX-8 gets great gas mileage...especially compared to a 7000# pickup or city bus." It's called denial. Now lest you think I'm trolling, here's where I am: This car must be fan-fricken-tastic to drive. I take this rotary denial as a glowing endorsement for the car and I really want to drive one now. So..how about RX-8 resurrection stories, like RX-7s of yore? Can you find one of these that won't start, pull the plugs and put in some ATF, drag it behind a truck at 75mph until it runs and then drive the dog E36 M3 out of it and resurrect it?

Apparently you haven't driven one. They are a blast to drive. A large Miata. MPG on the low side of average plus the majority of vehicles on the road nowadays seem to be trucks and SUVs so natural comparison. Can't imagine why you would want to try the ATF thing rather than fix it right. Early ones did have flooding issues affecting reliability, fixed with engine replacement on the early ones (like mine) and fixed on the later ones at the factory. I admit that they are an enthusiast car and once you get used to driving one it's hard not to imagine not driving one. Sometimes think about getting rid of mine until I get in the drivers seat. Didn't consider myself a rotaryphile until I ended up with one. Daughter bought it, couldn't maintain it so I traded her my Miata for it.

WonkoTheSane
WonkoTheSane GRM+ Memberand Reader
3/5/15 4:07 p.m.

Perhaps I've just been lucky, but the only maintenance I've done to my 07 with 60k on the clock is spark plugs, tires, brake pads (original rotors that are now shot after the last track day), brake fluid & gear oil before track days, and... I added a sub and replaced the two rear deck speakers because BOSE.

I do change the oil religiously at 3-5k with Rotella 10w30, and I put some pre-mix in the tank if going on track. I generally use about 3/4 qt of oil between changes and I redline it every day.

My only complaints are headroom in my sunroof model (see the many, many posts above) which I'm going to mod my seat foam a bit and the parasitic loss from the security system will kill my battery if it's not driven for 2.5 weeks or so in the summer, but that's very rare.

I've never had an issue with MPGs, as I didn't buy it for a long distance commuter, and like JohnyHatchi pointed above, it's not significant enough to factor into my equations on whether I like a car or not.

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