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1370 posts

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# 177552 6-Aug-2015 14:39
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I am looking for a new car and really keen on the RX-8. 
Interested to here any advice from current or previous owners. 

I realise it is pretty thristy on fuel, i'm not to concerned about this. 
Does anyone have some real road figures, searching online I have found it is generally 12-14l/100km



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2538 posts

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  # 1360054 6-Aug-2015 15:16
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1st gen or 2nd gen? Had a 1st gen (2005 i think it was) for a bit as a work car, fun to drive, without being particularly fast. Consumes a bit of oil (not heaps, unless you thrash it) so pays to check it regularly. Suicide doors seem 'cool', but can be a pain as you have to have the front door open before the rear, and then shut them in the right order, so when you have multiple passengers you have to remind them to coordinate their door work. Still better than no back doors at all, if you use the rear seats a bit, though.

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  # 1360093 6-Aug-2015 15:58
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Curious as to appeal?

The look

The engine

The sound?

 
 
 
 




1370 posts

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  # 1360097 6-Aug-2015 16:00
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nathan: Curious as to appeal?

The look

The engine

The sound?


Yeah some people don't seem to like the look but I really like it. 

Engine and sound are good, mainly its a sports car that's actually in my price range (8-10k).


1892 posts

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  # 1360180 6-Aug-2015 17:12
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Go for it.

I was looking for an RX-8 a while back and still really like them, but settled on a gen 2 MR2 instead.  I spent years looking for a sports car and learned a lot about them.  I've listed my advice below:

- Get the 6 port Type-S (6 speed manual) with the factory 18's.  It's the only model that really holds any value.  There are a few Limited PZ builds kicking around in New Zealand which have a few perks.  Only 800 were ever made.  Don't settle for anything less than a Type-S!
- Tiptronic/automatic models are particularly at risk of requiring work.  They can't be driven hard enough to keep the engine in good shape so they are considered at risk.
- Buy with the trim level you want and not the first thing that comes around.  Try the leather and the cloth interiors.
- Try and find one that has been recently rebuilt by Mazda or reputable Rotary place.
- Get a compression test.  This is absolutely MANDATORY, even on rebuilt motors.
- If you are looking at an RX-8 with a rebuilt motor, receipts or no deal.
- Check 2/3rd gear for crunching or general misbehavior.  Test drive one as far as you can to stretch it's legs.
- Avoid or be wary of RX-8's with intake modifications.
- Make sure when you view, you are starting it from COLD.  Be wary if you fire one up and it's already at temperature.
- Check what oil they have used and where it has been serviced.  The jury is still out on the synthetic vs. regular argument, but I'd recommend following what Mazda has in the rulebook, which from what I understand is still non-synthetic oil.
- Keep about 4K aside for a rebuild if it ever comes up.  I was quoted 3.5K last year on a dead one.  You never know when it will come up.
- Red is a cool colour, but red is known to fade on any car.
- Original service history logbooks and continued service history from country of origin and after importation is a very large plus.

Subtly extract from the owner as much information as possible about their daily uses and how they've looked after the car.  Specifically, warm-up procedures are very important. The term "abuse" is used very differently when discussing the RX-8.  You really need to buy one from someone that knows what they are driving and how to look after it.  A rotary nut who has used it for spirited driving and looked after it  Plenty of these people exist.  Don't buy an RX-8 that's been used as a shopping trolly unless it has particularly low kilometers.





Sometimes what you don't get is a blessing in disguise!



1370 posts

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  # 1360199 6-Aug-2015 17:34
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Wow thanks so much for all the info. I have been doing a lot of research online and came to a lot of the same conclusions as you :)
I haven't been to test drive any yet but have 2 private ones lined up this weekend and will visit a couple of dealers as well. 

Compression test is something that I will absolutely do, I have heard these take a couple of hours. Any idea how much they cost?

I have heard it is good to test hot and cold starts, it seems to be a fairly common issue of not being able to start when hot if coils or spark plugs are on the way out. 

Regarding a rebuild - this is one of the things that concerns me. I'm looking at cars with 60-80,000kms on clock so i'm hoping I would have to shell out for a rebuild for at least another 40,000kms.
I was tempted to buy from a dealer because of this, lots of them throw in cheap/free mechanical insurance that would at least give me peace of mind of the next couple of years. 

1247 posts

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  # 1360213 6-Aug-2015 18:06
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I recommend getting a compression check done and proof of regular oil changes. My (ex) partner bought one for $18,000, on close to minimum wage and couldn't afford the $180 services and refused to allow me to do it for her even though I do my own and have done since 1996.

Anyhow she drove it and drove it until it was 15000 km overdue, and what happened was it would start perfectly cold, but would turn over until battery was flat warm and never start. Only option was to leave car an hour to cool down.

Don't mistake what I'm saying for overheating - I guess once oil warmed up compression dropped as it thinned out and wouldn't start. This progessively got worse until D-day it stranded us at the petrol station, AA came and started it, then on the steep hill heading home the RPM climbed, maxed out at 5K, then wound down until it konked out. Compression again.

Moral is, keep the oil changes up and avoid ones that have had an owner like my ex.

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  # 1360214 6-Aug-2015 18:09
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It was an '04, with 120K km on the clock when it was completely toast. Just left to rust in the drive.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1360221 6-Aug-2015 18:34
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DravidDavid: 
- Get the 6 port Type-S (6 speed manual) with the factory 18's.  It's the only model that really holds any value.  There are a few Limited PZ builds kicking around in New Zealand which have a few perks.  Only 800 were ever made.  Don't settle for anything less than a Type-S!


I thought the PZ was a UK-only release? I don't believe it included any of the engine improvements (such as the move to 6-port) that came in the 2nd gen. That came in with the facelift/2nd gen from 2009 onwards. I would go so far as to say try to find a Spirit R if you can, although you'll pay a premium for it. They were sold here in very limited numbers. Also, as far as I know, it's not a simply plug out plug in to go from the 1st gen to 2nd gen motor.

At the end of the day, before you buy, get it thoroughly checked out by a mechanic that knows their rotaries - not just any old joe fixit.



1892 posts

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  # 1360495 7-Aug-2015 09:14
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Compression test is something that I will absolutely do, I have heard these take a couple of hours. Any idea how much they cost?

A compression test doesn't take that long as far as I know.  It should only cost about $150.00 - $200.00 or in that ballpark.   But that's chump change when buying a 10K car and wanting to know if you have to drop another 4K on it soon.

You could look out for a dead one and get it rebuilt.  Could make for a cheap RX-8 and piece of mind.  People usually fix them though, so they don't come up that often. :)

Inphinity:
DravidDavid: 
- Get the 6 port Type-S (6 speed manual) with the factory 18's.  It's the only model that really holds any value.  There are a few Limited PZ builds kicking around in New Zealand which have a few perks.  Only 800 were ever made.  Don't settle for anything less than a Type-S!


I thought the PZ was a UK-only release? I don't believe it included any of the engine improvements (such as the move to 6-port) that came in the 2nd gen. That came in with the facelift/2nd gen from 2009 onwards. I would go so far as to say try to find a Spirit R if you can, although you'll pay a premium for it. They were sold here in very limited numbers. Also, as far as I know, it's not a simply plug out plug in to go from the 1st gen to 2nd gen motor.

At the end of the day, before you buy, get it thoroughly checked out by a mechanic that knows their rotaries - not just any old joe fixit.

There are a few knocking around.  There was a 2006 on AutoTrader last year for about $10,000.  Very tempting.  As far as the spec goes it was basically a Type-S with suspension modifications, wing, sports exhaust and race alloys.

All 6 speed models had the 6 port rotary as far as I know.  You will only find the 6-speed in Type-S and other performance models.  The second generation RX-8 started in 2009 I believe.

The other thing was the permanent magnet attached to the sump to attract metal flying around the engine and tearing the apex seals apart.  Mazda removed it and then reintroduced it on the 2006+ models I believe.  Or it could have been the 2009+ models, I can't be sure now.  You can get an after market magnetic drain plug and magnet sleeve for the oil filter.  There are some interesting pictures on the internet on the amount of metal they catch that isn't going through your engine! :)

Geese: It was an '04, with 120K km on the clock when it was completely toast. Just left to rust in the drive.

Yup!  This is exactly what you need to avoid.  It's also why the tiptronic models are so dangerous.  Automatics are for town drivers or people not interested in driving.

If I were going to buy one, I think I'd only get an unmodified, recently rebuilt Type-S in red/black leather.  I'd just feel so ripped off if I grabbed one and the engine ate it's seals 4,000 kilometers later. :(





Sometimes what you don't get is a blessing in disguise!

208 posts

Master Geek


  # 1360560 7-Aug-2015 10:36
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I have one and agree with the above regarding looking after the engine. As long as you get regular servicing they're fine which for me has meant I haven't needed to do oil either. I delayed one service on my car and as a result the compression has dropped which has resulted in a slightly slower start. May not be noticeable to others but is to me. They're great fun to drive though. Glad I have the 6 speed manual.

Oh and definitely don't get caught with the start cold and then stop. Not an issue if you stall and restart but if you move it on the drive and then leave it then it's not fun to get starting again. My wife was cleaning the drive and did this to mine which resulted in having to do a towed start. *sigh* Just leave it running for 2-3mins and then it's fine to stop. No big deal.

As far as fuel consumption it isn't as good as new cars but for a 2003 sports car I have no complaints. Do you want a sensible family sedan or a sports car after all?

2514 posts

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  # 1363386 12-Aug-2015 08:08
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DravidDavid: Go for it.

I was looking for an RX-8 a while back and still really like them, but settled on a gen 2 MR2 instead.  I spent years looking for a sports car and learned a lot about them.  I've listed my advice below:

- Get the 6 port Type-S (6 speed manual) with the factory 18's.  It's the only model that really holds any value.  There are a few Limited PZ builds kicking around in New Zealand which have a few perks.  Only 800 were ever made.  Don't settle for anything less than a Type-S!
- Tiptronic/automatic models are particularly at risk of requiring work.  They can't be driven hard enough to keep the engine in good shape so they are considered at risk.
- Buy with the trim level you want and not the first thing that comes around.  Try the leather and the cloth interiors.
- Try and find one that has been recently rebuilt by Mazda or reputable Rotary place.
- Get a compression test.  This is absolutely MANDATORY, even on rebuilt motors.
- If you are looking at an RX-8 with a rebuilt motor, receipts or no deal.
- Check 2/3rd gear for crunching or general misbehavior.  Test drive one as far as you can to stretch it's legs.
- Avoid or be wary of RX-8's with intake modifications.
- Make sure when you view, you are starting it from COLD.  Be wary if you fire one up and it's already at temperature.
- Check what oil they have used and where it has been serviced.  The jury is still out on the synthetic vs. regular argument, but I'd recommend following what Mazda has in the rulebook, which from what I understand is still non-synthetic oil.
- Keep about 4K aside for a rebuild if it ever comes up.  I was quoted 3.5K last year on a dead one.  You never know when it will come up.
- Red is a cool colour, but red is known to fade on any car.
- Original service history logbooks and continued service history from country of origin and after importation is a very large plus.

Subtly extract from the owner as much information as possible about their daily uses and how they've looked after the car.  Specifically, warm-up procedures are very important. The term "abuse" is used very differently when discussing the RX-8.  You really need to buy one from someone that knows what they are driving and how to look after it.  A rotary nut who has used it for spirited driving and looked after it  Plenty of these people exist.  Don't buy an RX-8 that's been used as a shopping trolly unless it has particularly low kilometers.


Yes budget for a rebuild at some point, a friend of mine owns a "Rotary workshop" and there isn't a time that an RX-8 isn't in there for a rebuild.

It may be worth looking at what is there for a little more that can go for 200,000 + km without a rebuild, a MR-S or similar comes to mind. I had an FTO (getting too old now) and that was a fun car to drive and extremely reliable, even at 270,000km.

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  # 1363408 12-Aug-2015 08:58
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dickytim:

Yes budget for a rebuild at some point, a friend of mine owns a "Rotary workshop" and there isn't a time that an RX-8 isn't in there for a rebuild.

It may be worth looking at what is there for a little more that can go for 200,000 + km without a rebuild, a MR-S or similar comes to mind. I had an FTO (getting too old now) and that was a fun car to drive and extremely reliable, even at 270,000km.

Yep!  I've recently been down this track myself.

Top 5 on my list were:

- RX-7 FD
- RX-8 Type S
- MR2 SW20 (Turbo)
- Rover MGF VVT
- Mitsubishi GTO Twin Turbo

I picked a '92 MR2 GT-S in the end.  Amazing car to look at.  Even more amazing to drive!  But I can't help but feel the rotary void in my life.  I want to get an RX-7 or RX-8, but I kinda' want a "reliable" car in case something happens to the MR2.  I can't buy a rotary and have a 23 year old car as my reliable backup!  :)





Sometimes what you don't get is a blessing in disguise!

5385 posts

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  # 1365361 13-Aug-2015 10:44
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A compression test takes a few minutes.  A leak down test takes longer. 

It involves something like pressuring a cylinder when the engine is off and seeing how it holds pressure. 

Often done to test diesel engines, I believe it checks for how well valves and rings seal.

Each cylinder has to be checked at the right position (valves seated etc).

I have no idea whether a leak down test is applicable to a rotary.

One thing on rotary engines.  Don't buy one unless you (and anyone else who drives it) can be disciplined about warming it up properly before driving anywhere.  Not a good car for people who are always running late.




Mike

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  # 1365506 13-Aug-2015 12:23
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MikeAqua:One thing on rotary engines.  Don't buy one unless you (and anyone else who drives it) can be disciplined about warming it up properly before driving anywhere.  Not a good car for people who are always running late.


Absolutely agree.  Not a great car for a lot of people.  Which is why I'd only buy one from a rotary nutcase who knows how to look after one.  Not only do you need to warm it up, but you need to thrash it to keep it alive.  Which is why they say the term "abuse" is polar opposite for a rotary.  You can't drive em' nice!

The saying is "A redline a day keeps the carbon away". :)





Sometimes what you don't get is a blessing in disguise!

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Ultimate Geek

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  # 1365550 13-Aug-2015 13:31
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jbard: .....Regarding a rebuild - this is one of the things that concerns me. I'm looking at cars with 60-80,000kms on clock so i'm hoping I would have to shell out for a rebuild for at least another 40,000kms.

Then I would look at something else.  Mazda say the RX8 engine should last longer, but from what I can make out you need to assume a rebuild at between 60-100,000 kms unless you are lucky. You can tell by the number advertised that have already been done. As others have said they seem to be sensitive to proper warming up, so unsuitable for a short-run daily driver, unfortunately.

You don't have much choice for sports coupes at that price point - maybe a 350Z but that's strictly no kids. 




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