January 30, 2008

Maintenance And RX-8s

I wanted to go over a apparent "normal problem" with RX-8's that not only have I come across on RX-8 club, but also with my own. Upon owning the car for just under a month, I've already visited the dealership quite a few times, and made me begin to even worry," did I purchase a lemon?" Low and behold, I lucked out. It just was a few problems, one after the other that are a common occurrence on my model year that just so happen to start showing up right about now. These frustrations were -

Defective Gas Cap (I honestly had no idea that was possible)
Ignition Coils that are terrible from the start (mine with 20k on it)
And apparently, Catalytic Converters that clog, resulting in serious power loss (Another I've never heard of)
Lastly, the Rear Taillight filling with water

Now, I'm no car god, especially since I learn something new not just about my car, but cars in general, almost everyday. But these things are things I've never heard someone having a problem with in their car, like a G35, or a M3. Thankfully, the Mazda dealership I go to has no problem abiding to the factory warranty and taking care of all my problems.

The gas cap is apparently a problem for only 2004's and they redid the seals on 2005 and up.
Upon reading on the forums, the ignition coils are just poor quality, regardless of the year. It seems that most people turn to a aftermarket tuner for an Ignition Solution. From the reviews I've read about the Mazsport Ignition Solution, the best quote I saw was "The car runs the way it should from factory." I'll have to further inspect that.

The catalytic converter getting clogged could have been a number of reasons I found out. One of them being that in 2004, all RX-8's had to get their engine's replaced due to an oil leak to the cat that would clog them quickly and degrade the performance of the engine (Luckily mine was replaced). Another is that where I purchased the car, they had told me that someone flooded the engine when trying to bring it to the lot. All that junk that was in the engine could have been stuck to the cat, causing such problems. Could have been a mixture of both.
The taillights getting water is apparently another flaw Mazda is aware of and replaced those for free as well.

For those readers who are curious how I magically knew my catalytic converter was going, it actually was a bit of a scare. As I drove the car more, I noticed a sort of... "free driving" feeling. It really is hard to explain, as most people I told gave me quite a blank look. But really, it feels like you press the gas to go..And the car just goes, as opposed to feeling pick up, and feeling the car pull. It feels like the car is just... "going".

Again, it sounds weird, and using the term "slow" wouldn't give what I felt justice. But it really was just like the car felt like it was...Moving. At a later day (3 days ago), the car wouldn't go past 5'000 RPM, and was terribly slow, when finally I got a check engine light...In the middle of the highway. It just suddenly bogged down, couldn't go past 50 MPH, and couldn't go past 5'000 RPM. I took it to the dealership as soon as possible and thats how I found out what went wrong with the car...Ignition coils apparently failed and the cat was terribly clogged.

All in all, after getting the car back, the car had felt better then when I first purchased it..And I was quite pleased. At least I know what to look for should this ever happen again. Be weary readers, because if you feel any of these symptoms, I recommend getting it looked at ASAP, because leaving the cat clogged could slowly damage the engine as well. Just my thoughts.

January 13, 2008

Best Motoring International - RX-8/Rotary Reborn

Every month, I plan to give a small review on a different Best Motoring International videos that I have from my collection. Of course most of my reviews will be more partial towards the sections that have rotaries, but I won't leave any parts of the video out. Don't expect too much detail, only small reviews so you know what you're in for if you were to watch the DVD. For the first one to review, I thought it would be suiting to review Volume 8, Rotary Reborn!

Rotary Reborn is all about the RX-8's debut in 2003 over in Japan. Starting with the first section, it was a brief history about Mazda's rotary story. They explained how the old RX series was built to rival the Skyline GT-R's on the track. From there, they participated in Le-Mans and other events over time, evolving each car one after the other.

The next section was about the professional racer, Takuya, and his search for a four seater sports car as a daily driver. They did a detailed overview of the specifications, ranging from interior, to exterior features, wheels, etc. They used a Type S model (base sport model in America) for all of the video. From here, they started simple slaloms onto a highspeed stability test. Then, they did a decent comparision of high speed stability against the Skyline Coupe (Inifity G35), and BMW 330i sports package. After that comparision, they took it to the Gymkhana, testing it against the Skyline Coupe, Fairlady Z (Nissan 350), S2000, and the BMW 330i sports package.

After the testing, they took the RX-8 Type S too the touge, along with a RX-7 Spirit Type R, and a Roadster NB (Miata NB body). They did various runs, and compaired the setup between the three cars and where the RX-8 ranges in terms of performance and body rigidity. They basically had said that the RX-7 was built to be a track car right off the lot, as it had a great setup, but the RX-8 was excellent for back roads with its soft suspension but rigid body. Takuya really liked the setup of the RX-8 and was pleased with the outcome, even with the free style doors.

Lastly for the RX-8; They took it to the track. The RX-8 against the S2000, Roadster NB, Integra Type R (Acura RSX Type S), Subaru WRX, and Skyline Coupe on the Tsukuba Circuit. The battle really showed how the RX-8 was overall a well balanced car as opposed to the other cars. The S2000 won in the end, with it's high cornering speed and over all ability, but many of the other cars experienced wear in braking, or tires, or both! The RX-8 kept a overall consistent pace and speed, even though it finished near last.

Next, a Tuned Fairlady Z battle! They had also recently released the new Fairlady Z in Japan, and wanted to test what the Japanese tuners had on the market for the car already. Again on Tsukuba, they took out various tuned Z's and tested each of their abilities, and what they liked and/or disliked about each modification with the tuned cars.

For the last video on the DVD, it was Touge Showdown - 280 Class. Touge Showdown is where various Japanese tuners bring their cars to the touge to compete for the title "Touge Monster" of that class. Todays class was 280, so you are restricted to nothing more then 280 HP. You also must have a street legal car, meaning street tires, and interior intact. Each racer takes the cars out, one by one, giving a review on each car as best as they can while racing it. After testing, they mark down in order, the cars they liked the most. After they decide the top two cars, they have the cars battle it out, Initial D style they call it. What happens is, two cars go down at the same time, and if the car in front can pull away from the car in the rear, the front car wins. If the car in the rear is constantly on the tail of the front car, then the rear car wins. If both cars are even, then it becomes a draw. After the winner is decided after a uphill and downhill battle, that car goes against the Touge Monster, which is the best car of that class (and driven by the Drift King, Keichi Tsuchiya of course!).
This win was taken by the Amuse S2000, which took the win against Tsuchiya's AE86 with ease, becoming the newest Touge Monster of the 280 class.

January 12, 2008


(Sadly, no pictures from day of purchase, but the above is 2 months after.)

In November of 2007, I unfortunately got into a car accident that costed me the car. Thankfully, the accident wasn't my fault at all, allowing me to go on the market for a new car. Now, when I was looking for my car, I had already a small select list of cars I was highly interested in purchasing. Over time, that list got more and more narrow, until finally it was either a S2000, or a RX-8. It came down to what car I would find first with the options I wanted. As I searched the internet for good priced, decent RX-8's and S2000's, I lucked out at a used car dealership in Framingham.

When I called the salesman and told him out interested I was... He had the car waiting for me for when I arrived. Now that's service! It had everything I wanted. Black with black and brown interior, appearence package, and manual. The previous owner even left some Toyo Proxies all season on it, stock size though. After the test drive around the area, it was love at first drive. If I knew how to explain the sensations that came from that drive, I would.

The sound of the rotary truely is something that only a real enthusiast can appreciate, because they can also understand the work Mazda puts into each one of their 13B MSP engines. It's actually quite adicting, but you can just hang out at 9,000 RPM while driving around now can you? When driving the car stock for the time I did, I can tell you that this car certainly was something great even in stock form. It can perform and deliver, regardless of the low torque that everyone complains about. The Toyo's didn't match very well on the car though, as they squealed easily if turning hard, even just getting an offramp at a decent speed. I didn't feel very confident overall though with the grip of the tires, which always made me a hesitant driver. Again, the tires were the only thing NOT stock on the car from the dealership.

I'd have to say, my favorites about the car is that I have that "fighter jet cockpit" feel when I sit in the car that the RX-7 has..Just not as much as an FD. Close enough for now. The superior handling performance of the car, even just stock, and the unique (and pain in terms of maintenence!) engine that not only sounded so great, but revved and performed. I'm a fan of cars between 250-300HP, so this car just touches the barrier...And not much longer, she'll be within that range. Lastly, the fact that the stereo just sounds beast (in my opionion) stock. No need for upgrade or to get a "BLINGIN'" system, because it's already excellent.

The only thing I can say I openly dislike, besides the lack of torque, is the back seats. I know, sounds silly..And I know, I hear it 80 times a day "Go get a Miata or S2000 then!", but why do that if I love the car, just not the rear seats? At some point I'll pull apart the seats I'm sure, knowing me, but for now they'll stay in. I just have a passion for true two seater sports cars, is that so wrong?

When I purchased this car, I had only one mission in mind, and I still hold true to it, "To build a perfect balance between street car and race car."