Mazda Plans Recall of Troubled RX-8

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quote:
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2006/08/mazda_recall.html Mazda Plans Recall of Troubled RX-8 August 21, 2006 Mazda plans a voluntary recall of all 2004 and 2005 RX-8 sports cars along with some 2006s because of damage to the catalyst resulting from oil leaks in the RX-8's rotary engine. Mazda is preparing to replace the engines in many of its top of the line sports cars as a result of the recall. Any engine that does not pass a specific vacuum test will be replaced according to Mazda. Engines prone to failing the vacuum test are mostly in hot climates and use synthetic oils, according to the automaker. Earlier this month Mazda, in an attempt to soothe intense dealer dissatisfaction with the RX-8 maintenance record, promised dealers that it would no count RX-8 owners' opinions in its internal customer-satisfaction scores. Mazda dealers complained that problems with the RX-8 were unfairly lowering the Mazda customer-satisfaction results. A video of the dealer complaints was leaked to a Mazda owners' web site and caused an immediate uproar. In the video, a member of the Mazda National Dealer Advisory Council states, "Mazda is well aware of the negative impact on the scores caused by the RX-8 surveys. They agreed with us that the situation had to be changed. And so, effective July 1st, RX-8 will be continued to be included in the survey, but the scores will no longer be included in the results." The engine recall is the latest in a series of problems for the RX-8. Mazda will also check each RX-8's battery and starter, which tend to fail in cold climates. Mazda has already issued service bulletins on such trouble spots as squeaky brakes and engine flooding. Squeaky brakes on the RX-8 are the subject of three Technical Service Bulletins, according to owners. RX-8 owners have also repeatedly complained of engine flooding to failure. Mazda executives promise to give the RX-8 "white glove treatment" to finally deal with the problems associated with the sports car. The automaker has a remanufacturing plant in North Carolina that will rebuild faulty rotary engines and return them to service.
Humm I thought this quote was interesting: "Engines prone to failing the vacuum test are mostly in hot climates and use synthetic oils, according to the automaker." [SPAZ!]
 
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1,463
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"resulting from oil leaks in the RX-8's rotary engine" Do they mean more oil than normal leaking into the engine? because to me the whole oil injection thing is just a HUGE oil leak. Or do they now where the "extra" oil is leaking from? Oil control rings? Mazda used to say no synthetics in a rotary. I read this was based on a late-70's, early-80's test where one of the oils failed b/c it caused ash deposits that ruined the apex seals. Mazda never released the name of that company. I thought that was still the case? Maybe they caught flack concerning the Magnuson-Moss Act? A replaced with a new japanese engine or one that's been reman'ed here?
 
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1,463
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CA
yep, they sit in the rotor face and keep oil from leaking past the eccentric (crankshaft in a piston engine) bearings.
 
Some months back there was a thread about RX-8 rotaries failing in extreme heat conditions in places such as the Las Vegas area, but no one could seem to say just what the failure mode was. That is, just what was happening inside the engine: cooling system failure? apex seals? carbonization? etc. My hunch was that Mazda's specification of 5W20 oil in the US (because of Ford's influence for fuel economy requirements) when this car specifies heavier-weight oil everywhere else might be a culprit, but again, no one could say why the engines failed. This recall notice deepens the mystery. . . . In addition to the two oil control rings by the eccentric shaft on each side of the rotor, the RENESIS rotary in the RX-8 has a new larger diameter ring mainly meant to limit gas leakage for emissions control. I wonder if this might be a failure mode, though it seems unlikely.
 
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Haven't heard of such issues in Oz. BTW, mobil website only lists Semi synths and minerals for these engines including 5W-30 and 10W-40. Older ringdings are specified 30s through 20W-50.
 
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The rx-8s that are failing are (generally) granny-driven. The oil pump isn't programmed to inject much oil at slow cruising speeds, and the apex seals dry up and fail. Carbon that gets laid down doesn't help, slow gentle driving keeps it all intact. The ironic thing is that an occasional 9000+ revs and wide open throttle blasts help both conditions, these cars are being BABIED to death! Grannies take note - the RX-8 is not for you! . . . doc
 
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'Stralia
doc, sounds like the RO80. the little sports thing was a hit, so they made the family version, and immediately suffered chattering.
 
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Dallas, TX
I'd always loved the RX-7 since its introduction due to its styling and handling capabilities, but I've never been able to figure out what the true advantage is to a Wankel engine. They've always been troublesome, have always had oiling issues and have always been gas hogs. Their torque numbers are extrememly low if not turbocharged, so I've never noticed a performance advantage. Has it always been just the 'cool factor' that have made vehicles with these engines even remotely desireable to the car buying public? You couldn't give me one on a bet. Now, due to Mazda's insistence in resurrecting this design-flawed gizmo, they'll be spending millions to replace them in dissatisfied customers' RX-8s. I've never even driven an RX-8, but I'd venture a guess that the car would've been much better off with Mazda's 2.3 Turbo piston engine...the one that allows the Mazdaspeed 6 to leave an RX-8 in the dust.
 
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8,756
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RI
Engines babied to death, never heard it explained that way, but very true. And, with high gas prices, I expect that to be a very big issue as these Rx8's end up in used car lots. Rotaries don't tolerate high oil temps(over 212F is very detrimental to engine life), and they don't tolerate low oil levels. Toss those two issues together, and the engine dies. Sad that Mazda needs to foot the bill for negligent owners. I've check the oil level for several '8 owners and they were all dumbfounded that they were very low on oil. Low oil levels lead to high oil temps. Rotary powered cars are NOT for the typical US consumer. But, it is the typical consumer buying them. Funny that Mazda is still blaming synthetic oils. Why not give us the real reason? What is so bad in a synthetic oil? What is the synthetic oil destroying? They just keep adding to the hearsay without giving us any real proof. The biggest problem with synthetic oil is the cost, especially when considering the 3k/3mo OCI that I'll always recommend for this engine. And, since synthetic oils sometimes market 25k OCIs, that would be asking for trouble! Wear metals, injected into the engine, can't be all that good for long seal life. Fuel dilution in the oil, caused by running oh so rich, can't help with lubrication. Also, all the carbon buildup that I've seen in rotary engines is caused by running pig rich. Yep, even that OBDII emission'd to whatever enviro tier level RX8 engine still FLOODS. Too funny! I wonder why a Mazda choose a vacuum test and not a compression test for engine replacement. I wonder is the dealers even have the $1200 rotary compression tester. I guess that vacuum gauges are cheap for the dealer. If hot climates are killing the engine, what upgrades will Mazda perform to prevent that issue???? NOTHING! Does replacing the engine fix the cause of failure?
 
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11,656
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Illinois
I suspect there is something to this oil related. One of the car mag (Road and Track or Car and Driver) did a long term test on one of these and complained about the oil consumption as well as the difficulty in checking the dipstick/replacing the oil. So I wonder how many have just run low on oil and lunched themselves due to neglect. Since you seldom see a hood open at a gas station with the owner checkin the oil, I suspect this is the reason for many failures.
 
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1,979
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Today's society has greater demands than ever that cars 'take care of themselves'. Scheduled fluid changes (which often don't come regularly) are about all they see. A car that drinks oil at that rate when brand new isn't a car for modern society. When you pay $30K for a car, you expect the ability to leave the hood shut between scheduled maintenance. Speaking for me, the oil consumption would be a minor thing, because I check my oil every weekend anyway..so topping it off wouldn't be difficult, beyond the added expense. I won't pretend to know why rotaries are engineered to use oil, but Mazda should have taken that into account when they asked "is there a place for the RX-8 in today's marketplace?"
 
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11,656
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Illinois
How much $$$ would a $10 oil level sensor and a light on the dash have saved Mazda? Personally, I think everytime you open the fuel cap, it should trigger a light on the dash that asks, "Have you done the recommended checks under the hood?" Better yet, you have to pull the dipstick to open the fuel filler, LOL.
 
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8,756
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RI
A separate TCW3 oil tank just for the oil injection system would've been the smartest move. But, consumers then would need enough common sense to buy the correct oils and not mix them up. The RX8 is a niche vehicle, not for the masses. But, because many liked the way it looked, too many are owned buy incompetent consumers. High sales volume with the "the color is pretty and it looks cute" crowd will co$t Mazda.
 
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1,979
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Dallas, TX
I have to wonder how many average consumers would have gone through with the purchase had they been informed that their brand new car was going to consume oil and they need to check it regularly. Having been informed that it may actually run out before their next oil change might have pushed them towards a more conventional car, which is exactly why they didn't let this important bit of information get out....they had a ton of R&D costs involved with the car, so they have to sell them. Poor decision making, as now look what the cost will be.
 
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