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.
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