The Staff of Motorsport Marketing
The Staff of Motorsport Marketing Writer
11/14/17 9:20 a.m.

[Editor's Note: This article first appeared in our June 2014 issue. Some information and pricing may be different.]

Expert: Mike Allen

None

Mazdaspeed Motorsports Development
(800) 435-2508

To avoid getting an RX-8 with a bad engine, it helps to know the histo…

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kevinh333
kevinh333 New Reader
11/14/17 10:33 a.m.

Great information; unless you have a second gen car (09-11) in which case most of the data does not apply, especially regarding springs which do not install from gen 1 to gen 2 with the same results in performance and ride-height.

If on the other-hand all you are looking for is "the look" or "stance", any lowering spring will work but if you want to truly enhance the already superb handling you are out of luck (if you own a second 2nd gen car).

Any recommendations?

fidelity101
fidelity101 UltraDork
11/14/17 10:34 a.m.

These are all great and accurate but you're missing two critical items. The ignition and starter these tend to give off a false sense of a bad engine. They usually just need coils/plugs/wires kind of tune up or a new starter. The 04-08 starters were a little weaker and if it doesn't crank fast enough combined with a weak spark you tended to flood to the engine which then people would assume it was blown. Great way to pick up a cheap rx8 this way. With the 09+ the stater improved with the transmission, more Kw and more teeth on the gear.

If you can't/don't want to take it to a dealer to get a proper compression test you can use a piston tester by holding the shader valve open and watch the pulses. best best is to use your phone to record it so you can avoid unnecessary excessive cranking.

A little clarification on the exhaust, there aren't a lot of gains with a full exhaust but the gain is weight loss, there is a big opportunity there because like mentioned above there is not a lot of places to cut weight out of this vehicle. For instance the stock driveshaft is carbon fiber! I would 100% back up the claim that the engine needs a lightweight flywheel - it really wakes up then.

I daily an S2 rx8 and I love it, I have a "short" commute so I don't mind the economy its all about the smiles per gallon! the suicide doors make it great for brief case storage and ease of access. If you can get a touring without a sunroof it gives you the HIDs and fog lights which are well worth it.

colinshark
colinshark New Reader
11/14/17 7:52 p.m.

I'm surprised this isn't mentioned, but I'm a fan of fuel-premixing on all rotaries. Particularly on the S1 RX-8s, it makes up for the stingy oil injection. I use a "sta-bil" bottle, which lets me measure the dosage pretty easily.

Hungary Bill
Hungary Bill GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/29/19 10:38 a.m.

Ah!  I cant believe you guys didn't include my portion of the article!

Expert:  Hungary Bill

(Random RX8 forum lurker)
+36 30 555-1212

As an RX8 owner you're going to find out early on that everything you've heard about them is simultaneously true AND false. Eg:  "Rotaries are reliable if you take care of them!" and then you find out that there's people who think revving it to 4krpms before shutting it off is "taking care" of them.

Anything you do to your RX8 is going to simultaneously build up AND prevent the build up of carbon.  Warming the car up completely before driving it,  not warming your car up completely before driving it, short drives, long drives, the octane rating of your gasoline, pre-mixing, and your choice of synthetic/conventional oil.

Any aftermarket part you're interested in is going to both add a zillion horsepower AND do absolutely nothing.  But everyone buys the same three things anyway (intake, exhaust, and Tien Coilovers).  What they should have bought was "nothing", and then spent that money on safety gear and event admission.

Don't ask any questions on any rotary forum. Ever.  Anything you ask is going to cause an argument, and you'll find equal numbers of people on both sides of it.  (see afore mentioned oil choices, premixing, or the recommended octane rating of gasoline).  And oh for the love of god, dont ever ask anyone about what the actual/correct displacement of a rotary engine is.

Don't ever tell ANYONE ever, that your RX8 has any sort of problem (not the check engine light, not a flat tire, not even if it's just that the seat is a little uncomfortable)  There are three responses you'll get:  rebuild it, it needs a rebuild, and hahahahaha, your RX8 needs a rebuild! 

And perhaps most important of all, it is your DUTY as an RX8 owner to tell EVERYONE how a rotary works.  In the paddock at a track day?  Start talkin.  Workin the corner at an auto-x?  Tell them all about it.  Just pulled in to a parking spot at the grocery store, and you notice an old lady is still loading her trunk?  Yup.  Tell her too laugh

Speaking of which!  Have I told you guys about this little 1.3-liter engine that makes over 200hp with only three moving parts? 

 

ganseg
ganseg New Reader
11/30/19 10:21 a.m.

Awesome article and responses.  I have had about 30 cars, similar price range (used), and my RX-8 was hands-down my favorite.  (Disclaimer- I have never had an S2000).  The RX-8 was great out of the box.  I assume part was having the engine further back, but having had four mid engine cars (two generations MR2, and two Boxster S's), there is something else with the RX-8.  Mazda does know zoom-zoom!

_
_ Dork
11/30/19 2:00 p.m.
Hungary Bill said:

Ah!  I cant believe you guys didn't include my portion of the article!

Expert:  Hungary Bill

(Random RX8 forum lurker)
+36 30 555-1212

Don't ask any questions on any rotary forum. Ever.  Anything you ask is going to cause an argument, and you'll find equal numbers of people on both sides of it.  (see afore mentioned oil choices, premixing, or the recommended octane rating of gasoline).  And oh for the love of god, dont ever ask anyone about what the actual/correct displacement of a rotary engine is.

see my sig 

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
12/3/19 9:30 a.m.

I like the info presented here. 

lowheat
lowheat GRM+ Memberand New Reader
7/17/21 3:48 p.m.

I have owned sports cars since the 1960s, starting with the '58 MGA, '67 MGB, and '59'-'60 Austin-Healey 100/Six. I have driven many others. My current fun-day car is a 2005 Toyota MR2 Spyder-one of the best handling cars I have driven (along with the Porsche Cayman S). Having said all that, the Mazda RX-8 6-speed was one of the most pleasurable cars to drive ever--supple riding and comfortable, with a glove-like fit and a fighter jet cockpit.  I have regretted trading it in on a Nissan 370Z ever since. The RX-8 is one of those cars that makes one look for excuses to "run errands." It has the magic. Sports car junkies (like me) know what I am talking about. MR2 Spyder owners get it, as do Lotus drivers . Some cars seem almost to anticipate drivers' inputs.  The RX-8 was/is among them, without being hardcore or brutal. R.I.P., RX-8.  

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