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RX Reven'
RX Reven' HalfDork
4/5/12 2:37 p.m.

I bought a RX-8 new in 2005 and now have 143,000 miles on it consisting mostly of freeway commuting with a few autocrosses thrown in here-n-there.

My original engine blew its brains out at 85,000 miles but that may be attributed to poor repairs from an earlier front end collision.

Mazda replaced the engine for free and I’ve been conditioned to trust rotary engines after putting 286,000 miles on my normally aspirated FC RX-7 and ultimately selling it with the original engine in good running order.

However, I’m now hearing from what I consider to be fairly anecdotal sources (RX-8 Club.com, etc.) that it’s typical to only get about 100,000 out of the engine.

I looked in the GRM archives to see if there were any current discussions about the engines and didn’t find anything so….

How many miles do you have and what have you experienced

pilotbraden Dork
4/5/12 2:45 p.m.

31,000 with no problems.

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand UberDork
4/5/12 3:00 p.m.

All I know is that I see them flooding into the used car lots so fast over the last year I'm surprised they don't get wedged into the entrance gates Three Stooges style...gee, I wonder why....

kreb GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/5/12 3:05 p.m.

They're getting pretty inexpensive. I'd seriously consider one, as my experiences with rotaries has always been good. Has anyone come up with a LSX swap kit for them yet? I saw a cherry automatic with a blown motor for under 4 grand the other day.

scardeal Dork
4/5/12 3:08 p.m.

I'm at 100k on mine. The PO put aftermarket oil coolers on it. Changing the coils made a big drivability difference. I might have to do the clutch on it...

I don't have any indication that the engine is going south, though.

bgkast GRM+ Memberand New Reader
4/5/12 3:14 p.m.

I'm at 67000 on mine. I have only had it for about 6 months, but when I bought it I had a compression test and it was within spec. I have added a sohn adaptor to run 2 stroke oil to the omp, pre mix 2 stroke oil at 0.5 oz per gal and run techron gas to keep the carbon at bay. I hope to have it for a good long time.

belteshazzar UltraDork
4/5/12 3:33 p.m.

in my experience, rotaries don't really give an indication they're going to stop.

i am excited to hear these cars are getting affordable, though.

coll9947 Reader
4/5/12 3:39 p.m.

Hinson Super Cars is working on an LSx RX8. They even have the RX8's CAN-based gauges working.

Apexcarver UberDork
4/5/12 4:08 p.m.

A friends lost an apex seal at 98k. He is in process of replacing it himself (mazda wouldnt help him, wanted reciepts for oil changes that he did himself IIRC)

dculberson Dork
4/5/12 4:09 p.m.

Hinson's car has been "almost complete" for two years now! They work almost as slowly as I do.

kreb GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/5/12 4:40 p.m.
dculberson wrote: Hinson's car has been "almost complete" for two years now! They work almost as slowly as I do.

You'd think they were the ones doing the Miatabusa!

JohnyHachi6 Reader
4/5/12 6:06 p.m.

My GF has one that is her DD and it's a very competitive C-Stock solo car as well. We've been racing it (about 15 events/year for the last two years), it has 68k on it and I just did a compression test on it two weeks ago. Numbers were just below Mazda's spec for a new engine. (Well within the spec for a broken-in engine)

I have heard a lot of horror stories about engines dying with relatively low mileage that give me the impression that the first year or two of production might not have been the best. Also, they really need to be maintained well (preventative maintenance on cooling system, frequent oil changes and oil refills). I have several acquaintances with RX8s who really don't keep them up as well as they should and I think the general demographic of owners is probably like this. However, I think they have an undeservedly poor reputation on the reliability front. That's just my impression though.

wlkelley3 Dork
4/5/12 8:28 p.m.

I have an 04 that was bought used. Unknown care before I bought it at a dealer. Engine went at 98,000 and replaced under warranty. 22,000 on replacement engine now and it gets regular maintenance and trounced on regularly. Sometimes autocross it in STX but not really competitive in that class as the only mod is MazdaSpeed springs. Still has factory shocks and swaybars.

Rufledt Dork
4/5/12 8:28 p.m.

Not that it really contributes but mine is perfect at 10k! I've been pretty anal about the oil. Also, has the series 2 been out long enough for people to be putting lots of miles on them? I know they fiddled with the oil injection system (including a much higher oil pressure) but I don't know of any proof that it worked (or didn't) yet. I'm not holding my breath, but it would be nice if this thing could last half as long as my old van before it needs a new engine... A new, sweet, sweet engine... with a turbo... and ceramic apex seals... and a second turbo for when the apex seals blow and go through the first turbo...

JtspellS Reader
4/5/12 8:42 p.m.

@ 28k going strong, going to do ignition, oil, trans, and rear here in the next week or so.

Biggest thing from what i understand is you have to keep a close eye on the ignition system, oil level and be sure to redline at least once a day (i try to each key on.)

And the later models you can get the better!

rotard HalfDork
4/5/12 9:33 p.m.

I'm glad I sold mine while I could still get 5 figures for it. Mine was a 2006 that I bought in 2008 with 15k miles on it. My engine lost compression at 62k miles, but started losing power before that. It's not a catastrophic failure; they just get slower and slower and slower and get worse and worse and worse gas mileage. And harder to start.

For the record, I did all of the little things. I had the BHR ignition kit. I kept an eye on the oil level. Etc, etc. I was one of those people that shook my head and said that the other people simply weren't taking care of their RX-8's properly.

They all seem to start losing compression before 100k miles. The later model years are starting to have failures in similar percentages. There were just fewer of them produced, and they simply don't have as much wear and tear on them yet. The re-manufactured engines typically fail sooner than the original engines.

It was wonderful to listen to family and friends' comments when my "letting it warm up" and "redline a day" and piss poor fuel economy and expensive spark plugs and ignition kit and checking oil every fill-up and slowness resulted in a bad engine.

In contrast, my FB was an excellent vehicle that provided years and over 100,000 miles of flawless service before I sold it.

JohnyHachi6 Reader
4/5/12 9:56 p.m.

In reply to rotard:

Ah!! Don't tell me these things! I want to believe...

rotard HalfDork
4/5/12 10:05 p.m.

In reply to JohnyHachi6:

I don't like to be a Debbie Downer, but my advice to anyone that isn't upside down on one is to sell it and buy something else. They certainly feel good to drive, though.

JamesMcD Reader
4/5/12 11:03 p.m.

Mazda, you break my heart.

I have been a die-hard Mazda fan ever since I started driving. I love all automobiles and the history thereof but Mazda has always been my go-to favorite for daily conveyance. Now, my Mazda enthusiasm is centered mostly around their piston-engined stuff (glorious F2T cars) but I have also owned an Rx-4, a 1st gen Rx-7, a 2nd gen RX-7, and I currently own a 3rd gen RX7 which I rebuilt the engine for myself.

The wankel is not for everyone, and I don't even believe that it has a place in the modern automotive world (from a new-product business-case stand-point). It's just inherently flawed, thermodynamically, and direct injection and laser-beam ignition using alien technology is not going to cure it.

But I will argue that the wankel, as an engine type, is not inherently unreliable. Mazda, at one time, had it figured out, and produced a pile of 1st and 2nd gen Rx-7s that racked up some impressive mileage figures. It's the early pre-Rx-7 cars (under-developed apex seal materials) and later 13B-REW (persnickety manufacturing-cost-constrained twin-turbo system) that gave the wankel a bad rep with the general public...

When the RX-8 was announced, I was so very excited. I thought to myself "This will be a return to the reliability of the 2nd gen NA RX-7, or better, but with way more power. It's going to be so awesome!" I wrote an E-mail to Bob Hall (head of product planning at Mazda during the 80s and responsible for the development of the Miata) asking how the RX-8 did during long-term reliability testing, and he told me that they would have ensured that the car could go to at least 200k...So that "confirmed" my hunch. And I happened to really like the looks. The RX-8 became my dream car of the moment...

Well here we are, and the RX-8 is having troubles in real life. It makes me so very sad. Did they drop the ball on spec'ing the apex seal material? Did they get a bum supplier? I don't know. I wish I understood better why it is that Mazda once knew how to build these engines and now seems to have eff'd them up. But I can't imagine that there will ever be another Rx-7. The fan boys keep talking about it, but it's gotta be a pipe dream now, given modern emissions standards and the fact that Mazda has given themselves another wankel black-eye.

99.9999% of the public doesn't give a berkeley about the wankel. If Mazda ultimately fails as a car company and has the get bought up or sold off, I have a hunch that history will tell us that dedication to the wankel is what killed them. Think of all the development dollars that have been sunk into the 16X program that could have been spent on the Mazda6 or Mazda3 or other bread and butter cars. Think how much father ahead they would be if they'd simply built the sporty car that the vast majority of wankel-ignorant Rx-8 buyers really wanted: An RX-8 chassis with the MS3 engine. It's a shame, really.

JohnyHachi6 Reader
4/5/12 11:46 p.m.

Here's a related question that I've been wondering about. Apparently in all non-North American markets Mazda specified that RX8 owners use 10W30 oil, while in the US and Canada they specify 5W20. Apparently this is to reduce emissions for the tighter requirements here, but may (?) lead to accelerated engine wear.

I'm curious if anyone here has heard about this and what your thoughts are. I'm tempted to switch to the thicker oil when the engine warranty runs out. Thoughts?

vincephan New Reader
4/5/12 11:48 p.m.

I once owned an RX8. The best part of the car is definitely not the engine.

I sold it at 80k miles when the engine was starting to give up. The car started running really poorly and it didn't seem as strong as it was when I bought it.

Snrub New Reader
4/6/12 9:10 a.m.

My RX-8 is a '06 at ~59kms or ~37k miles. From a reliability perspective a lot of stuff has broken that shouldn't have (off the top of my head): catalytic converter, rear shock, ignition coils, clutch cylinder, clutch bracket, fogged tail light lens and there has been rust. I've had it for exactly 3 years today and bought it when it had ~22kms or ~14k miles.

I really like my RX-8. It has great handling, feel, shifter, steering, brakes, etc. There are few cars out there at any reasonably price range that deliver these attributes like the RX-8. However, I believe the cheap used car value has a lot to do with higher maintenance costs. Other modern cars barely require maintenance and repairs until they're rather old. Fuel economy is not a great incentive either, but I don't think spending say 15% more on gas over competitors like a Z car is the end of the world.

Apexcarver UberDork
4/6/12 9:24 a.m.

Yeah, thats the other thing.. I was at the friends place (who has one) and his catalytic converter was half melted.

Not flaking or falling apart, but melted

rotard HalfDork
4/6/12 10:13 a.m.
JohnyHachi6 wrote: Here's a related question that I've been wondering about. Apparently in all non-North American markets Mazda specified that RX8 owners use 10W30 oil, while in the US and Canada they specify 5W20. Apparently this is to reduce emissions for the tighter requirements here, but may (?) lead to accelerated engine wear. I'm curious if anyone here has heard about this and what your thoughts are. I'm tempted to switch to the thicker oil when the engine warranty runs out. Thoughts?

I heard this on RX-8 Club. I used 10W30 oil. I didn't use synthetic because I changed it every 3000 miles. I also didn't have any issues with the engine warranty; John Finger Mazda is good to work with.

The RX-8 is also pretty much maxed out from the factory. I used to drink the koolaid, but there's really no way to reliably make it backup its looks. I'm not trying to hate on the RX-8; it gave me 4 years of reliability. I have a feeling that I would miss it if I hadn't bought a car that's simply better in nearly every way.

CGLockRacer GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/6/12 10:14 a.m.

Now you all are telling me this after I got my '09 R3!

J/K. I researched and knew what I was jumping into. Here's to hoping I got a good one :)

15K miles and no engine issues so far. ::knock on wood::

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