I'm joining the RX8 life style. Caution? Encouragement?

I'm joining the RX8 life style. Caution? Encouragement?

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Discussion

ZackM

Original Poster:

190 posts

33 months

Wednesday 24th February
quotequote all
After having thought about it for a long time, I think I will finally get a RX8. It was not an easy decision, with all the discouragement you see online and knowing the reputation of the car. But it is perfect for me in so many ways. So I will give it my best try.

But searching for one is indeed a little scary. All the adds seem to read the same. All mention cold and hot start not a problem. But the cars have sometimes more than 100k miles and when I ask, it is still the original engine. There was one example with about 135K and according to the seller still the original engine. When I ask about compression they all say they don't know.

According to what I have heard an engine with over 100k if still the original engine, is probably living its last days. Would you buy a RX8 with that much mileage on if you know it's the original engine, even if it has a MOT?

The other discouraging part of the car's reputation is rust. I want this to be my everyday car. In winter they use salt here. I have been called crazy for even considering a RX8 as an everyday car for this reason. Is rust really that big of a problem with these cars?

Unfortunately the R3 was never sold here. I don't think any of the facelift cars were. Most of the ones for sale are between 2004-2005. Newest I have seen for sale was 2008. Is it true the 2003-2005 cars should be avoided? Most of them are the 192hp. I never saw a 231hp for sale.

Lastly, does anybody know a good RX8 forum or FB group which is more international? It would be great to interact with RX8 owners in the continent, where I am now. But still need it to be in English. wink



Edited by ZackM on Thursday 25th February 22:00

Gary C

7,634 posts

143 months

Wednesday 24th February
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They are great cars and fun to drive.

The engine is always a worry, but if you factor in the cost of a rebuild they are cheap motoring.

They do drink fuel and a later one costs a stupid amount to tax.

The LSD can break off the tabs and render the unit ineffective as an LSD.

I think a 100k one is probably near death, but so can a 15k one.

Coil packs need to be in good condition and they do break down and cause starting problems that make you think the engine is on its last legs. The only way to tell is to get a proper wankel compression test (it needs special equipment to do this test, don't be fobbed off with a garage doing a normal test, you should have three readings for each rotor normalised to a standard rpm)

If you get one, look to fitting a sohn adapter to supply the oil injection pump then fill the engine with proper synthetic oil to protect the main bearings while allowing dexelia to be injected into the combustion chamber.

The high power model has xenon dip beam and the self leveling system can fail (sensors on the suspension) and is an MOT fail but don't bother with the slower car.

The coolant level sensor fails and illuminates a red radiator light when you thrash it which can scare you to death smile but needs a new header tank to fix and not cheap.

The cream leather is a pain to keep clean, but looks fantastic with the deep blue metallic.

This car got under my skin and I regret selling it, but a gallon of petrol to drive to and from work when I only live 7 miles away was quite a few straws, then the final one was road tax greater than the insurance. Actually the final one was when it wouldn't start after filling with petrol but the next owner fitted new coil packs and apparently that made a huge difference.

They must be thrashed, its the very soul of the car and makes it more efficient as compression increases the faster the rotors rotate smile

Edited by Gary C on Wednesday 24th February 22:01

Wadeski

6,856 posts

177 months

Wednesday 24th February
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I would think about it like buying a TVR.

Buy the very best one that you can, but plan to hold 5k in reserve to fix all the stuff you didnt know was broken...

Nickp82

2,526 posts

57 months

Thursday 25th February
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The main thing is to go in with your eyes open, which it seems you are doing.

Compression issues aside, they are generally reliable with a few common issues like any other car.

Road salt does kill them though, I have seen some horrendous examples that have come from Scotland or the North East where (I believe) road salt is used plentifully.

The key thing would obviously be to protect it underneath and keep it so.

The benefit though is they are fantastic cars which offer a driving experience different to any other, I think as time goes on and less and less people are using them as daily cars, their attributes are being recognised a bit more.

Gary C

7,634 posts

143 months

Thursday 25th February
quotequote all
Nickp82 said:
The main thing is to go in with your eyes open, which it seems you are doing.

Compression issues aside, they are generally reliable with a few common issues like any other car.

Road salt does kill them though, I have seen some horrendous examples that have come from Scotland or the North East where (I believe) road salt is used plentifully.

The key thing would obviously be to protect it underneath and keep it so.

The benefit though is they are fantastic cars which offer a driving experience different to any other, I think as time goes on and less and less people are using them as daily cars, their attributes are being recognised a bit more.
True

As a daily driver, I probably wouldn't have one again but as a garage queen they would make an interesting and good value (for now) choice.

GTdrive

154 posts

15 months

Thursday 25th February
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Gary C said:
True

As a daily driver, I probably wouldn't have one again but as a garage queen they would make an interesting and good value (for now) choice.
Honestly, I think the RX8 is exactly interesting as daily driver and only as a daily driver. As a garage queen, there are prettier, nicer, more powerful and more charismatic options, if you don't have to worry about back seats and practicality. But if you want a daily which drives like a sports car but is at the same time practical, the RX8 is the only true option.

Edited by GTdrive on Thursday 25th February 15:25

GTdrive

154 posts

15 months

Thursday 25th February
quotequote all
Wadeski said:
I would think about it like buying a TVR.

Buy the very best one that you can, but plan to hold 5k in reserve to fix all the stuff you didnt know was broken...
But unlike a TVR, the high fuel and high maintenance are not returned in performance and exotica.

Gary C

7,634 posts

143 months

Thursday 25th February
quotequote all
GTdrive said:
Wadeski said:
I would think about it like buying a TVR.

Buy the very best one that you can, but plan to hold 5k in reserve to fix all the stuff you didnt know was broken...
But unlike a TVR, the high fuel and high maintenance are not returned in performance and exotica.
But whats an ok TVR cost ? 10K 20K, more ?

Can get a ok RX8 for 2 to 3K so its all in proportion I suppose.

Truckosaurus

8,229 posts

248 months

Thursday 25th February
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In a world where it is getting harder to find new cars that aren't powered by small turbo engines with auto boxes with a million gears, then the RX8 is becoming an ever more desirable vehicle....

If you can live with the v poor fuel economy and treat the engine as a consumable (and budget for a rebuild or two) then I'd vote yes.

Neith

556 posts

104 months

Thursday 25th February
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I'd be skeptical about an RX-8 with over 100k miles if the seller is saying it's the original engine. With how cheap the cars are to buy you're probably better looking for a lower mileage car, or one that's just had a rebuild. Later R3s are a little more reliable due to an extra oil injector but command a premium.

I owned one for just over 3 years. Great cars provided you can live with the fuel use. I used mine as a daily and around town I could empty a tank in under 150 miles. There's a myth that they drink oil too, I never experienced this though. They do use a little more than conventional engines but it's not that big of a deal. Make sure you get any potential purchase compression tested and fire the car up while its still warm and see if it hesitates. If it struggles to start, walk away.

Regarding rust, mine seemed ok. I did get a little surface rust on the rear arches but it was easily treatable. Check the sills, arches and boot lid (around the 3rd brake light can rust).

They're great cars and a lot of fun on the right roads, you just need to do the research beforehand as they have the potential to be a money pit if you end up needing a rebuild.

ZackM

Original Poster:

190 posts

33 months

Thursday 25th February
quotequote all
Thanks for the replies.

So you basically need to modify the car the make it more reliable?

The compression test is hard to do pre purchase, specially if garages can't do it and it needs 1 hour to do. So if it starts hot and cold, is it any help determining if the engine is good?

Is it true that the 2003-2005 cars should be avoided? Lots of them here are that. They never sold the facelift cars here. So they are all pre 2007 and most are the 192 hp engine.

For price, it's true that back in the UK they are cheap!

But here the situation is totally different.

Around here, cars of that mileage are about 8-12K Euros. For 3-4K you get cars which are above 100K miles. Although they do have a MOT. But that doesn't really guarantee anything in a rotary.

Since I was told that with RX8s the mileage says nothing, because even a low mileage one might blow the engine the month after, I would prefer to spend less.

I would actually prefer finding one with a blown engine for cheap. But you never see them. Because it is then more profitable to break them and sell the parts.

An engine rebuild here will cost around 4-5K. Found a person who rebuilds them for sale for around 3K if you give your broken engine in exchange. But it seems there is no warranty. It's just a single guy doing this on his free time, who says to have done it for several years now.

The support for these cars here are nowhere as wide spread as in the UK. They are actually very rare here. I have only seen one in town.

ZackM

Original Poster:

190 posts

33 months

Thursday 25th February
quotequote all
Neith said:
They're great cars and a lot of fun on the right roads, you just need to do the research beforehand as they have the potential to be a money pit if you end up needing a rebuild.
Do you mean if it needs an engine rebuild, there will be more bills on top of the rebuild and it will never be good again. Or you just mean an engine rebuild is expensive?

Edited by ZackM on Thursday 25th February 19:31

WonkeyDonkey

1,316 posts

67 months

Thursday 25th February
quotequote all
If you can afford an R3 then they are the ones to go for. Top spec as standard and the engines longevity is slightly improved.

I loved mine, just couldn't stomach the running costs.

The lack of torque can be very deceptive though, I found myself doing 100mph+ on the motorway too many times due to it!

Nickp82

2,526 posts

57 months

Thursday 25th February
quotequote all
The engine starting instantly both hot or cold is a good sign but it does not mean compression is ‘good’.

The engine just ‘blowing’ is generally not common, what happens is the compression gradually decreases as apex seals etc wear until you get the well known hot start issue.

A good battery, starter and ignition can start an RX-8 hot with compression numbers down in the fours so if you bought such a car based on it starting fine hot or cold, you’re going to be in for a rebuild pretty quickly.

A compression test is an easy thing to perform and if you have slender girly arms like me, you can remove the plugs/leads and insert the tester socket from the top without removing any wheels.

Compression testers are available for £150-200 if you search so an option could be to buy one and do your own tests if one is not supplied by the seller.

ZackM

Original Poster:

190 posts

33 months

Thursday 25th February
quotequote all
WonkeyDonkey said:
If you can afford an R3 then they are the ones to go for. Top spec as standard and the engines longevity is slightly improved.

I loved mine, just couldn't stomach the running costs.

The lack of torque can be very deceptive though, I found myself doing 100mph+ on the motorway too many times due to it!
Unfortunately the R3 was never sold here. I don't think any of the facelift cars were. Most of the ones for sale are 2004-2005. Newest I have seen for sale was 2008. Is it true the 2003-2005 cars should be avoided? Most of them are the 192hp. I never saw a 231hp for sale.

What do you mean the lack of torque can be deceptive? You mean it makes you accelerate too much? Because of the low torque, I heard they are not good in the city? That will be a bummer if true. As a daily driver it will do a lot of city driving.

ZackM

Original Poster:

190 posts

33 months

Thursday 25th February
quotequote all
Nickp82 said:
The engine starting instantly both hot or cold is a good sign but it does not mean compression is ‘good’.

The engine just ‘blowing’ is generally not common, what happens is the compression gradually decreases as apex seals etc wear until you get the well known hot start issue.

A good battery, starter and ignition can start an RX-8 hot with compression numbers down in the fours so if you bought such a car based on it starting fine hot or cold, you’re going to be in for a rebuild pretty quickly.

A compression test is an easy thing to perform and if you have slender girly arms like me, you can remove the plugs/leads and insert the tester socket from the top without removing any wheels.

Compression testers are available for £150-200 if you search so an option could be to buy one and do your own tests if one is not supplied by the seller.
That is not good to hear. I think it will be nearly impossible to find a seller who would allow me to take his spark plugs off to make a compression test. Even if I bring the tester. And I have very thick arms.

So maybe apart from making sure the engine starts hot and cold, I could pay attention to see if the battery, starter and coils are new or even ask?

Nickp82

2,526 posts

57 months

Thursday 25th February
quotequote all
ZackM said:
That is not good to hear. I think it will be nearly impossible to find a seller who would allow me to take his spark plugs off to make a compression test. Even if I bring the tester. And I have very thick arms.

So maybe apart from making sure the engine starts hot and cold, I could pay attention to see if the battery, starter and coils are new or even ask?
Yes, if the car is advertised with brand new starter motor in particular this is as much a warning sign as a benefit as it can be masking a hot start issue.
Having said that, starter motors on early RX-8s (2003-2005) were not up to the job so replacement is common, it’s just if it has been done very recently I would be suspicious as seller could be trying to get rid before the starting issues return.

Gary C

7,634 posts

143 months

Thursday 25th February
quotequote all
GTdrive said:
Gary C said:
True

As a daily driver, I probably wouldn't have one again but as a garage queen they would make an interesting and good value (for now) choice.
Honestly, I think the RX8 is exactly interesting as daily driver and only as a daily driver. As a garage queen, there are prettier, nicer, more powerful and more charismatic options, if you don't have to worry about back seats and practicality. But if you want a daily which drives like a sports car but is at the same time practical, the RX8 is the only true option.

Edited by GTdrive on Thursday 25th February 15:25
Having had one as a daily, it simply drank too much. A GT86 would be its natural replacement.

Maybe garage queen was the wrong word. Weekend thrashabout car might be better. Certainly when I got rid of mine, there was no way it was going to supplant the carrera

Gary C

7,634 posts

143 months

Thursday 25th February
quotequote all
ZackM said:
That is not good to hear. I think it will be nearly impossible to find a seller who would allow me to take his spark plugs off to make a compression test. Even if I bring the tester. And I have very thick arms.

So maybe apart from making sure the engine starts hot and cold, I could pay attention to see if the battery, starter and coils are new or even ask?
you cannot test a wankle engine with a normal 4 stroke compression tester. Dont even try, the figures you get will be totally useless.

It needs a system that can measure the pressure rise and fall along with the cranking speed. It needs to be able to separate out the three chambers in each rotor. The pressures are then adjusted to a reference cranking speed.
Only Mazda or a wankle specialist will have the correct kit.

https://www.rotarycompressiontester.com/

Edited by Gary C on Thursday 25th February 22:34


Edited by Gary C on Thursday 25th February 22:36

Gary C

7,634 posts

143 months

Thursday 25th February
quotequote all
ZackM said:
Unfortunately the R3 was never sold here. I don't think any of the facelift cars were. Most of the ones for sale are 2004-2005. Newest I have seen for sale was 2008. Is it true the 2003-2005 cars should be avoided? Most of them are the 192hp. I never saw a 231hp for sale.

What do you mean the lack of torque can be deceptive? You mean it makes you accelerate too much? Because of the low torque, I heard they are not good in the city? That will be a bummer if true. As a daily driver it will do a lot of city driving.
The lack of torque is often bandied about and really its a distraction. If you put your foot down at say 3000 rpm and expect the sort of building shove you get from a modern turbo engine, then you will be disappointed, but run it to near the red line in each gear and you will be smiling.