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Driving the Mazda RX-8

 
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Shrapnel



Joined: 20 Oct 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 7:06 am    Post subject: Driving the Mazda RX-8 Reply with quote

Hi Group

I'm a new rotary enthusiast, having just acquired a (slightly) used 6-speed manual RX-8. I often enjoy the power and speed of this beautiful machine, but sometimes like to just cruise along not-too-fast in 6th gear with my foot very light on the accelerator.

My question is: Is this an OK way to treat the engine, or am I gumming up oil inlets, fouling plugs or committing any other unspeakable crimes on the powerful engine by just driving it real gentle when I feel like it?

Tony Shrapnel
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Blake
Been there, done that


Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 135
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If this were a conventional peripheral-exhaust rotary engine, I'd say it was fine as long as you occationally drove spiritedly to blow out the carbon.

But the long term effect of driving style with a RENESIS are really unknown at this point. The side exhaust ports may not let you "blow out" carbon by occational spirited driving...or maybe they do. Steam cleaning by injesting water through a vaccum tube while modulating the throttle, as we do on the earlier engines, may prove the most effective preventative maintenance...or not. Know what I'm saying? How many RENESIS engines with 100+K miles have been torn down and evaluated? We've had one RENESIS engine in the shop with 20K miles, with an apex seal failure. Carbon build up did not seem too bad, at any rate.

In general, driving at lower RPMs is a good thing for wear and tear. Apex seals, especially, wear rapidly at high RPMs. But the carbon build-up issue is unknowable. In any event, any problems in that regard are only going to show up pretty far down the road. Drive it anyway you like and let us know what happens in the long run. Smile
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Blake Qualley
Pineapple Racing, Inc.
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Shrapnel



Joined: 20 Oct 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that Blake. Hope you don't mind if I ask you two more questions:

1. With "normal" driving of a conventional engine I would expect to get at least 200,000 km out of it before the motor needed an overhaul. Based on your experience, is this also a reasonable expectation for a rotary engine?

2. When I've finished driving the RX-8, is it OK to just switch the engine off, or is there any maintenance advantage/ value in free revving to (say) 3000 rpm for a few seconds before switching off?

Regards
Tony Shrapnel
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Blake
Been there, done that


Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Posts: 135
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2005 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shrapnel wrote:
Thanks for that Blake. Hope you don't mind if I ask you two more questions:

1. With "normal" driving of a conventional engine I would expect to get at least 200,000 km out of it before the motor needed an overhaul. Based on your experience, is this also a reasonable expectation for a rotary engine?
For a "conventional" NA rotary engine, yes, that sounds about right if it's not abused (200K kilometers = 124K miles), but again it's hard to predict for the RENESIS. Those apex seals really concern us, and carbon buildup, coolance seal failure or oil seal failure can kill an engine just as surely as an apex seal. I would hope 200K km is a sure thing, but only time will tell.

Quote:
2. When I've finished driving the RX-8, is it OK to just switch the engine off, or is there any maintenance advantage/ value in free revving to (say) 3000 rpm for a few seconds before switching off?


I don't see what revving it before shut-off would do to help anything. I've never done it to any of my personal vehicles and I've not lost an engine in the last ten years (kind of ironic, actually). I would recommend to make sure the car is completely warmed up before shutting it down (i.e. don't just move it from inside the garage to outside, as when washing it, and turn it off while it's still idling high).
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Blake Qualley
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(503) 233-3878
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