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Old 07-07-2015, 12:50 PM   #1
Nicole
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Default A follow up to "Help!!!"

Hi everyone, several weeks ago I posted my first thread about the problems I have been having with my 2004 RX8. I received many replies and lot of help, and I was very grateful for that. There really is not much to update, as we still are trying to figure out if the car simply has electrical/coil issues or needs a new engine completely.

I would like some more opinions today. Simply put, my parents have volunteered to put a brand new engine into the car for me, which of course is extremely generous, or just buy me another car for $5000. This is all assuming, of course, the the final verdict is that I need a new engine.

What I would like to know - if this was your situation, would you go for installing a new engine or scrapping it and buying a different car? If you were not part of the original thread, here's a brief description of the car - Body is in perfect shape, 98k miles on it, transmission good, cat converter good, new starter/battery/air filter, tires good, essentially everything else on the car is in great shape. It's just the engine. After all I have been through, as much as I would love to take my parents up on their offer to install a new engine (which would essentially be like having a new RX8), I am scared that this car is still too high tech for me to handle, and it might still be prone to other problems frequently and not be reliable. I love the car dearly, it really is my dream car, but as I stated before, I am single, know nothing about taking care of cars myself, and have some serious health issues that would keep me from even being able to learn to do things on it myself. (Of course I would maintain it religiously, with oil changes etc) I would just have it done professionally, like any car I would own.

So, in your opinion, if you were me in my situation, should I go for it and replace the engine or get rid of it for something more reliable (and boring!). It goes without saying what I WANT to do, but I also want to be responsible and realistic about my ability to manage this car if it is going to continue to have problems. I will say this - I drive very little, I am a writer and work from home, and the most miles this car would ever see would be an occasional road trip to Charleston, 3 hrs away. So a new engine would last me several years. The last car I had I only put 90K miles on it in 7 years.

Thanks again in advance for any opinions.
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Old 07-07-2015, 04:19 PM   #2
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If you where to buy another car for 5ish grand you would be buying someone else's problem. You would need to put at least a grand into it for tires,clutch,brakes.

So getting it sent to Kevin Landers of Rotary Resurrection for a rebuild and refresh. You should be able to get all the work done and back to you for under the 5k.

After that you have relatively new car. New engine on top of all the other stuff you have replaced.

Once the motor is broken in and such all it will need is regular oil changes. Plugs and coils about 20 to 30k and it should give you years of trouble free driving.

Sometimes the animal you know is easier than learning a new one.
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Old 07-07-2015, 04:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by JL1RX7 View Post
If you where to buy another car for 5ish grand you would be buying someone else's problem. You would need to put at least a grand into it for tires,clutch,brakes.

So getting it sent to Kevin Landers of Rotary Resurrection for a rebuild and refresh. You should be able to get all the work done and back to you for under the 5k.

After that you have relatively new car. New engine on top of all the other stuff you have replaced.

Once the motor is broken in and such all it will need is regular oil changes. Plugs and coils about 20 to 30k and it should give you years of trouble free driving.

Sometimes the animal you know is easier than learning a new one.
+1 to everything said here. I would opt for sending it out to a local shop (Rotary Resurrection) that will be able to go over the car, isolate the problem, and fix the problem BEFORE resorting to a new/rebuilt engine.

If the problem is not due to a blown engine, than swapping in a different/new keg will just cost more money while still having to deal with the old issues.
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Old 07-07-2015, 06:17 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Nicole View Post
Hi everyone, several weeks ago I posted my first thread about the problems I have been having with my 2004 RX8. I received many replies and lot of help, and I was very grateful for that. There really is not much to update, as we still are trying to figure out if the car simply has electrical/coil issues or needs a new engine completely.
Who/what shop do you have sorting this out for you? How long have they been trying? Just curious, because figuring out if the engine is toast or not shouldn't take them too much time... a rotary-specific compression test done correctly with the right test equipment will quickly answer that. OTOH, if the engine is diagnosed as healthy (i.e., good compression & mechanically sound), then the troubleshooting of all the ancillary stuff (i.e., all the electrical & mechanical stuff that manages fuel & spark) will take some time and serious skills to sort out.

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Originally Posted by Nicole View Post
I would like some more opinions today. Simply put, my parents have volunteered to put a brand new engine into the car for me, which of course is extremely generous, or just buy me another car for $5000. This is all assuming, of course, the the final verdict is that I need a new engine.

What I would like to know - if this was your situation, would you go for installing a new engine or scrapping it and buying a different car?

So, in your opinion, if you were me in my situation, should I go for it and replace the engine or get rid of it for something more reliable (and boring!).
I'd say fix the RX8, on the basis of the devil you know is better than the one you don't. Buying a different $5K car is most likely going to result in buying someone else's high-mileage car problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JL1RX7 View Post
If you where to buy another car for 5ish grand you would be buying someone else's problem. You would need to put at least a grand into it for tires,clutch,brakes.

So getting it sent to Kevin Landers of Rotary Resurrection for a rebuild and refresh. You should be able to get all the work done and back to you for under the 5k.

After that you have relatively new car. New engine on top of all the other stuff you have replaced.

Once the motor is broken in and such all it will need is regular oil changes. Plugs and coils about 20 to 30k and it should give you years of trouble free driving.

Sometimes the animal you know is easier than learning a new one.
^What he said. +1 on Kevin Landers/Rotary Resurrection; he's among the best budget rotary engine builders out there, although I'm not too sure if he's the go-to guy for troubleshooting difficult systematic problems, which you'll need to do anyway if the engine is found to be mechanically healthy. For that service, I'd recommend seeing Dave Barringer (sp?) at Speed1 in Lenhartsville, PA. Probably a non-starter for you due to the distance, but he's "DA MAN" for that sort of thing.

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If the problem is not due to a blown engine, than swapping in a different/new keg will just cost more money while still having to deal with the old issues.
^Very true, hence my question about who is diagnosing the problem now? Any decent mechanic with a rotary compression tester should be able to tell her if the engine is mechanically sound in short order.
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Old 07-07-2015, 07:23 PM   #5
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I had a compression check done back last year and they said it was low, which meant it needed to be replaced eventually. The problem is that it is running terrific - when it runs, and I keep getting varying opinions from different people that just because the compression is low it doesnt mean I have to get a new engine. Which just doesn't sound right to me. Low compression = replace the engine. At least that is what I thought. Im uploading a copy of the paperwork from the dealer that did the compression check.
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Old 07-07-2015, 08:44 PM   #6
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it sounds like the coils are bad, rx-8 coils are notorious for failing.. coils are what fire the spark plugs, even if you replaced the spark plugs, if the coils are bad, the engine will not run or run like crap. new coils are $30 a piece, and there are four of them

http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/se...004&make=Mazda

i am in Charleston, i could take a look at if for you, send me a pm
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Old 07-07-2015, 08:47 PM   #7
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The receipt does state that it's "low," but it doesn't mention any numbers...
That's kinda lame.
I find it hard to believe that a ~100k engine is already in need of replacement?!?
Maybe this is just a totally difference beast than a 2nd gen non-turbo...

I am, too, working on a customer's '04 model, and I have to agree what others have already mentioned...
Fix as much things as cheaply as you can and...dump the car.
I know at least these first year model have a lot of headaches.
It's going to take a combination of a lot of money, time, and a competent mechanic to address all of it.
Is that worth it to you?
i don't think so if it entails a $5k replacement engine...

If you REALLY love the car, then by all means keep it...
But from an economical point of view, it isn't.


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Old 07-07-2015, 08:49 PM   #8
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Interesting - would bad coils make the compression test fail?
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Old 07-07-2015, 09:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicole View Post
Interesting - would bad coils make the compression test fail?
not directly. i wouldnt trust a compression test, especially if it was just "low". a brand new engine that was flooded will give low compression results

i agree with ted, you could sell right now for $1500-2000, or running condition for $4000-5000. so it would be worth it to fix if repairs cost less than $2000, less whatever your headache is worth


edit: "flooded" means combustion chamber flooded with fuel, which what can happen if coils not working properly

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Old 07-07-2015, 09:50 PM   #10
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It has all the signs Flooded,Low Battery. It would be well worth the coils and a nice charge on the battery. Even throw the updated starter in there.

I just don't see an Auto popping a motor.


If it does have the crap starter that is going to turn it slower accompanied by a low battery and plugs in wrong order that is going to give you a horrible comp test in regards to the invoice..
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Old 07-07-2015, 10:57 PM   #11
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This is all good feedback. Thanks so much! Any more input please share.
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Old 07-08-2015, 06:55 AM   #12
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It has all the signs Flooded,Low Battery. It would be well worth the coils and a nice charge on the battery. Even throw the updated starter in there.

I just don't see an Auto popping a motor.


If it does have the crap starter that is going to turn it slower accompanied by a low battery and plugs in wrong order that is going to give you a horrible comp test in regards to the invoice..
Sadly Cheebs auto's are notorious for popping motors in 8's. Normally coils are bad, motor floods, clogs cat, then too much back pressure pops motor. Hence why you see so many on craigslist for cheap.

But like said earlier, new plugs, new coil, new battery, and uprated starter fix most issues with 8's.
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Old 07-08-2015, 07:11 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Nicole View Post
Interesting - would bad coils make the compression test fail?
If the coils were acting up while trying to start the car, it would quickly flood because of no ignition. A flooded condition causes low compression because the excess fuel washes off the oil film needed at the seals to maintain a good compression. So if they tested the compression while the car was still flooded, or shortly after un-flooding it, a low compression reading can be expected. Not exactly a conclusive test in this case.

Also agree with Ted that dealer is lame for not giving you any numbers to go with thier "low compression" assessment. Since it's a dealer, I'm assuming they have Mazda's compression tester, which spits out a nice hard copy printout with a graph & numbers for the tech to read. The tech should have given you that as well.

Forgot to add - there are other ways a dealer/mech can screw up a compression test. One of the common procedural mistakes is forgeting to floor the throttle wide open while the car is cranking and the comp. readings are being taken. That would result in a low reading too.

From all the symptoms discussed, the mileage on the car and the failure history on RX8 coils, it sounds like you just have bad coils. Since the coils are relatively cheap (~$30 X 4), I'd take my chances with just buying new ones and having a trusted mechanic install them for you. May well solve your problem for a lot less than $5K/new engine.

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Old 07-08-2015, 02:27 PM   #14
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Well I think this is just what Im going to do - replace the coils, and then reassess. Ive come this far, it is CERTAINLY worth another couple hundred to see if that is the culprit. Thanks for all the help fellas!!!!
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Old 07-08-2015, 02:43 PM   #15
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The new and improved starter for the 2009 - 2011 RX8s helps tremendously with starting as well.
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