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MONTEREY, Calif. -- After suffering a black eye from disclosing that it won't count RX-8 owners' opinions in its internal customer-satisfaction scores, Mazda says it may have to replace the engines in many of its flagship sports cars.

The voluntary recall of all 2004 and 2005 vehicles, and some 2006s, is expected to be announced this week or next. It involves damage to the catalyst resulting from oil leaks in the RX-8's rotary engine.

Any engine that does not pass a vacuum test must be replaced, said Robert Davis, head of product development and quality at Mazda North American Operations.

Engines prone to failing the test are mostly in hot climates and use synthetic oils.

Mazda also will check each RX-8's battery and starter, which tend to fail in cold climates.

"We're going to give these cars the white-glove treatment," Davis said. "We would rather replace the engine than have the dealer crack them open."

Davis would not disclose the projected failure rate of the engines or the cost to replace them.

Mazda has a remanufacturing center in North Carolina that will rebuild faulty engines and return them to service.

The recall comes after a video Webcast by two dealers who attended the July 11-13 National Dealer Advisory Council meetings in Newport Beach, Calif., was leaked on the Internet.

In the video, dealers said problems with the RX-8 were unfairly lowering Mazda customer-satisfaction scores.

Mazda informed the dealers that RX-8 owners would continue to be surveyed, but that the responses would not factor into dealer customer-satisfaction scores.

Mazda has issued service bulletins on such trouble spots as squeaky brakes and engine flooding.
 

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Man poor Mazda. I get the feeling every year that the rotary is at its end....except for alternative fuel solutions. Mazda already got their ass handed to them on the RX-7 recalls years ago.

I think the reason they don't count the Rx-8 owners is because most owners don't understand their engine and its special needs. Haayes out here gets house wives in there all the time bitching about the engine not starting.
 

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yeah, iys a shame about the rotary. i am buying my first rotary next week (1985 rx-7) and i cant wait. if my dreams come true, ill own one of every generation of rotary
 

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man, thats sucks...my friend juuuuust bought an '06 on saturday. I hope he isn't one of the "some 2006s"
 

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nah your friend should be cool. It was the 06's built in early spring. On the rx8 boards they're saying that the new cars should have been fix/flashed at the dock when they arrived. Even with this going on I'm still planning on getting mine soon.
 

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I really think this is more of an attempt at PR than anything. The actual problem rates do not support any factual basis for such a recall, as the RX-8 engine isn't troublesome compared to the engines used in cars generally.

I would not have done it if I were Mazda. I would have gone with the evidence, which supports the Renesis rotary is a good reliable engine.
 

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I really think this is more of an attempt at PR than anything. The actual problem rates do not support any factual basis for such a recall, as the RX-8 engine isn't troublesome compared to the engines used in cars generally.

I would not have done it if I were Mazda. I would have gone with the evidence, which supports the Renesis rotary is a good reliable engine.
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I love the RX-8 and will probably eventually buy one, but the evidence says anything but the fact that the Renesis is a good reliable engine.

No one outside of MNAO knows for sure how many total rebuilds there's been total since 2004, but we do know for sure that it is significantly higher than average for any other motor based on the tidbits that some have been able to yield from MNAO. Last year with the intense heat in Nevada and Arizona and the Renesis' given weakness with high ambient temperatures, there were individual dealers that had as many as sixteen RX-8s sitting waiting for new motors. When temperatures exceeded 110 RX-8s were literally dropping like flies. With the high heat this year in the South (everywhere really, but particularly here) there has been just over 200 Renesis changeouts by dealers just in Texas and Louisiana alone this year. Despite out-selling RX-8s 6:1, I'd bet money that the dealers down here haven't changed out more than 20 Mazda6 Duratecs in the same time period.

And with this new recall Mazda expects so many engines will need replacing that it's contracted out with Delphi to rebuild them here in the US.

You won't find many Forums that have a "New Engine Club" like RX8Club does. Certainly not one with as many "members". And more than a few are on their third engine, and at least one guy is on his fourth. And before you blame it on proepr rotary maintenance, many of those with engine replacements are very long-time rotary owners.
 

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I love the RX-8 and will probably eventually buy one, but the evidence says anything but the fact that the Renesis is a good reliable engine.

No one outside of MNAO knows for sure how many total rebuilds there's been total since 2004, but we do know for sure that it is significantly higher than average for any other motor based on the tidbits that some have been able to yield from MNAO. Last year with the intense heat in Nevada and Arizona and the Renesis' given weakness with high ambient temperatures, there were individual dealers that had as many as sixteen RX-8s sitting waiting for new motors. When temperatures exceeded 110 RX-8s were literally dropping like flies. With the high heat this year in the South (everywhere really, but particularly here) there has been just over 200 Renesis changeouts by dealers just in Texas and Louisiana alone this year. Despite out-selling RX-8s 6:1, I'd bet money that the dealers down here haven't changed out more than 20 Mazda6 Duratecs in the same time period.

And with this new recall Mazda expects so many engines will need replacing that it's contracted out with Delphi to rebuild them here in the US.

You won't find many Forums that have a "New Engine Club" like RX8Club does. Certainly not one with as many "members". And more than a few are on their third engine, and at least one guy is on his fourth. And before you blame it on proepr rotary maintenance, many of those with engine replacements are very long-time rotary owners. [/b]
So tell me, what do you suggest Mazda should do to improve rotary engine reliability? Obvioulsy neither Mazda nor any of us would like to see rotary engines go. From the sound of it though, it sounds like it would be more beneficial for Mazda to stick with piston engines instead, but they should never ever do that.
 

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I too think the rotary engine is done for. Mazda has got to be fed up with it after all the recent problems- I wonder if the car has been profitable for them.

There are other rotary-like engines designs out there that look interesting.
 

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In addition to the question of what Mazda could do to improve reliability of the Renesis, what could owners do? I don't know enough about rotary engines so I don't know. Its also why I'll never own one.
 

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As far as I can tell, the problem is with the North American version of the car. In Europe, Japan, and Australia, there doesn't seem to be this same problem. This leads me to think:

1) The recomendation for 5w20 perhaps was not a good idea, at least in the hotter parts of NA. Overseas, Mazda tends to recommend 5w30 or 10w40. The Renesis runs HOT, so any differences between SAE30 and SAE20 might be important here.... In Australia, RX-8's are equipped with only ONE oil cooler, and they don't seem to have the same heat related problems.

2) PCM programming is different in NA. The EPA2 regulations require that cat converters last for 100k miles, which is ridiculous. Mazda seems to have tried to achieve this by lowering exhaust temps by running rich... this of course demands more oil consumption. More of everything = more carbon. The side exhaust ports were tried many years ago, but was never suitable due to excessive carbon build-up... Mazda's solution was computer controlled oil metering, which reduced the amount of oil required (and therefore, the amount of carbon generated). In NA, the carbon once again looks like a problem from running rich with lots of oil. Again: in Japan, Aus, Euro versions, the original tuning from Japan is being run and there doesn't seem to be the same problem.

3) The problem is worse with auto trannies. Maybe this was due to the extra heat? Autos also only had 1 oil cooler (as opposed to 2 in the manuals). Only in North America do we like autos more than manuals -- perhaps this tendency bit our asses this time? People say that rotaries will die sooner unless they get redlined once in a while. Perhaps, auto drivers tend to be gentler on their RX-8's, and this ironically contributes to their premature death.


So it seems like Mazda could improve things by:
- allowing the use of 5w30 (or heavier) in hot climates, and put it in the owner's manual
- don't skimp on cooling capacity: they should have spent the extra $50 per vehicle for larger oil coolers and the biggest, baddest radiator they could fit in there
- put some engineers on the PCM tuning -- the NA version is where they ought to be concentrating


Hmmm, come to think of it, these are the same things that Mazda could do to improve their lineup across the board in NA.
 

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I like the way you think, hope they pick up on this.
 

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I think the rotary is a good idea and I had thought that the twin turbo set up was the down fall of the 3rg gen cars. But seeing this it makes me wonder about rotaries in all.

They never got good gas mileage and were susceptible to pre-ignition when low octane gas was used by onwers that knew no better -The instant kiss of death in a rotary.

I belive if the rotary is to have any real future, it needs more R&D from companies in addition to Mazda.
Mazda can not go it alone when all it has is a mid priced sports car.

It's not going to happen.
 

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fking piston rings on regular engines provide excellent sealing. What is wrong with the rotary? why have they not been able to come up with seals that can hold up?
 

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fking piston rings on regular engines provide excellent sealing. What is wrong with the rotary? why have they not been able to come up with seals that can hold up?
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The piston rings on a piston engine are exposed to a tiny fraction of the force of those on a rotary engines. On a piston they're simply sliding up and down. On a rotary they are pressed hard against the surface of the casing while spinning at incredible rates of speed. They're asked to do a lot more than just slide up and down.
 

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The piston rings on a piston engine are exposed to a tiny fraction of the force of those on a rotary engines. On a piston they're simply sliding up and down. On a rotary they are pressed hard against the surface of the casing while spinning at incredible rates of speed. They're asked to do a lot more than just slide up and down.
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not so fast. The piston rings are exposed to a lot of pressure. remember those days when burning oil was very common? better piston rings and better distortion control under extreme heat and pressure have reduced that.
Mazda just does not have the R&D to come up with better sealing materials required for the purpose on a rotary i.e.q deep pockets
 

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I know that pistons are exposed to a lot of pressure, any component inside of an engine will be. An apex seal is exposed to that same pressure, plus the pressure exerted on it by the rotor itself. An apex seal has to do the job of a piston ring, a compression ring, and an oil ring all at the same time.

It's not the materials of the apex seal that are the problem. There are better, stronger material apex seals available from both Mazda and the aftermarket that Mazda chooses not to use on production cars simply because they're not necessary until you start talking really high power applications. It's the very physics of the process itself that are the problem.
 

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I'm looking at the various reliability reports and surveys, and the ones I see show the RX-8 as about average in engine problems. Maybe it's an issue of severity than number, however.
 

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Update on this topic... I read this over on the RX8Club. The prevailing hearsay from Mazda Tech is that the problem is caused by heat: hot idling in traffic, low speed operation. In order to combat this, there are a couple changes coming in the next flash:

- more oil injection under certain conditions (like, hot idling? Mazda already released a flash to increase oil metering during cruise conditions)

- leaning out the fuel maps -- apparently, running rich was an effort to keep cat temps down. Running TOO rich actually heats cats up, as they must burn the excess fuel eventually.

Hmmm, all very interesting. I wonder if Mazda will also adjust the temps at which the fans will come on. By the time I get serious about buying one of these, maybe all the bugs will be worked out. :nana:

http://www.rx8club.com/showthread.php?t=97...ge=53&pp=15
 
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