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Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/12/21 3:46 a.m.

Don't call it a project!

It's been here for years.

Putting pistons in fear.

Something about beer....
 


So when one owns one of the most reliable vehicles of the 1980's, what else would compliment it but this century's least reliable vehicle?

Enter my 2004 RX8

 

Read ANY RX8 buyer's guide and you're going to be told 2 things:

1)  Buy one post 2009 as just about everything wrong with these had been fixed

2) Compression test, compression test, compression test.

Of course, I ignored both points completely.  No one has ever accused me of buying cars with my brain, and I wasnt about  to have them start now...

 



The car was advertised with 21,000 original kms (which I'm sure has been rolled back), winter tires, and faded paint.  The previous owner seems intent on setting Europe's land speed record for most words vomited per second so getting any info from him was near pointless.  When I couldnt keep up in Hungarian, he switched to German, which was less helpful.  Rotary owners...  It turns out we're the same in other countries too.

 

 

So, obviously I know better but I did it anyway.  But WHY did I do it?  Well, there's a track about 40 minutes away and I wanted something that was "track ready" right out of the box.  It also had to pull "school run" duty, and occasionally would be required to get me to work.  This car revs to the moon, handles like a dream, fits my 2.3 children, and starts just often enough to meet that "work" requirement (Post covid times means I'm mostly work from home these days)

 

Unfortunately the flip side of that coin is that quite literally NOTHING I bolt on to this thing (short of a $6000 turbo kit) is going to make any more power.  Like at all.  These seem to dyno at 170hp, and that's where they seem to like to stay.  Sucks really, because ideally I'd like to do SOMETHING to this that would make it better/faster/stronger than your run-of-the-mill RX8, but we'll see.
 


So far I've been able to do a little fiddling.  Nothing serious really, but I did manage to get a couple trackdays in last year.  Preparation for the track with the RX8 was pretty simple:

1) Redline oil in the trans and diff

2) RBF600 brake sauce

3) 100tw tires (Toyo R888r)

 

Unfortunately, after spending money on the sticky shoes and safety gear (helmet, suit, gloves, and shoes) that was about the end of my "fun budget".  I'm sure more will follow though!

Good times.

 

Post your favorite rotary and RX-8 memes - RX8Club.com

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/12/21 3:49 a.m.

Tires are evil and need to be punished.

 

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/12/21 4:01 a.m.

The track in question is the PannoniaRing.  You'll never see it in televised motorsports, but it's not a bad place.  Tarmac is smooth, and it's good for 3rd gear in all but a couple places.

 

 

It's out in the middle of BFE, and still manages to get noise complaints lodged against it.

The group I run with is based out of Austria, and the guy who owns it runs a Ferrari of somesort at the events (sorry, not a fan of the prancing horse)

I'm in this year for four events.  May, July, August, and September (I buy them on sale, otherwise I couldnt afford to go).

Its great to get out.  At one event last July, I ran into an old Alfaholic (note:  Alfaholics here are mostly Fiatholics.  Not the same.  From here on, the name will only be applied to true "pre-fiat" Alfaholics).  We got to talking and he runs a shop in Austria where he preps old euro for racing in the "Histo-Cup" out here.  A 7-event (or so) series that attends tracks like this, the slovakiaring, as well as the Red-Bull ring, and so on.

Having CRATES of leftover Alfa parts still in my shed, I offered to unload the entire lot on him if he could use them.  Contents were all from my GTV6 project and even included and Eaton M90.  He was pretty stoked as he had just hired an apprentice fresh out of school and the kid (using the term loosely) could use or sell the spares to help him out.

If you're ever in the area, hit up Marcus at ProtoTech  and tell him Bill sent ya (engine and rolling road dynos available and everything!)

here's a recent post of theirs on the book of faces:



I made some (certain they're low quality) videos of my (terrible) driving but never got around to getting them of of my hard drive and on to the tubes of you, so for now you're going to have to accept a random photo for proof of track attendance...



 

Good times.

 

 

 

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/12/21 4:15 a.m.

so, in the event that 5 years have transpired between my first post in this thread and the day you're reading it, and you're wondering why exactly zero parts have been bought and zero work has been done to the vehicle...  let me give you a bit of the going ons (read: "excuses") as to why that is:

We bought a house!

The outside of which looks like this:

 

No photo description available.

 

Unfortunately the insides look like this:

 

It sits on 1500sqm (or approx 1/3" acre) comes with 13 fruit trees (3 pears, one cherry, one plum, and lots of very small peach trees), TONS of grapes (of some table variety) and a couple berry bushes (Josta berries, which are a hybrid of somesort).  It's also a 5-minute walk (known locally as "staggering distance") to the town square which looks like this:


Eventually we'd like the place to look like this:

(Back porch shown)

Back yard looks kind of like this:







The lady that owned the place (Magdi) passed away about a year ago and it looks like she'd been having trouble keeping up with the garden for quite some time.  No worries though, we've got it mostly under control by now.

We'll be ripping out most of the grapes and try to get it down to maybe one feature (ie: a gazebo) and maybe one row.  Some of the peach trees have to come down as well...

Anyhoo, until that's all sorted we're in a rental across town that looks like this:

Summer:

Winter:

 

and when it snows in the winter, there's a hill nearby where the kids can do this:

 

Our slice of heaven.

 

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/12/21 4:16 a.m.

Meth.  Not even once...

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/12/21 4:22 a.m.

In addition to the trackday videos, I'm pretty sure I have a couple videos of the kids and I working on things as well.  The eldest had a friend in Kuwait whos parents set him up a Youtube channel.  Of course anything friends have, we must have.  So after the mandatory period of "oh god why??????" and "how can I get out of this" because "no damn 7 year old needs a youtube channel" with the obligatory period of "get off my lawn", i decided that instead of banning perhaps we could learn something here.

So far all we've learned is that while dad is GREAT at getting the cameras out, he's terrible about getting them uploaded.  So far we only have one (motion sickness inducing) video and that's only there because dad is ALWAYS on his phone and that's what we used to record it.

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLh7t3-k8dEh4Axa0YJZ02IZayjMG94Dmh


Anyhoo, being early in my denial I started where any good RX8 owner starts and that is with a battery replacement, starter replacement, and BHR ignition coil upgrades!  Prior to this, my engine was spinning so slow I couldnt compare my compression numbers with the charts available online!

Compression numbers - RX8Club.com

May be an image of 2 people

(Poser shot.  The starter goes in the OTHER side)

So now that THAT was done, i have those compression numbers, right?

Nope!  Never went back and retested.  It's probably best not to know wink


Rx 8 - Meme by btfan :) Memedroid

Good times

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/12/21 4:45 a.m.

Side topic:

Over the summer, I had to drive it to Germany for work...  (I know, right?)


Now our highway speed limit is 130kph, but it's pretty well known that the speed cameras dont go off until 155kph.  So we all pretty much do 90mph when we're on them.

But I also happened to latch on the back of a late 80's Porsche Carerra at the German border and the two of us finished the last 4 or so hours of the jaunt at 185kph+.  That was a LOT of fun.  Unfortunately the Nurburgring was closed both weekends I was there (ah well, been there, done that)

When I finally DID get to work there, she made some friends in the car park:

 

Good times.

obsolete
obsolete Reader
3/12/21 7:18 a.m.

This is a fun read! Thanks for posting.

Slippery (Forum Supporter)
Slippery (Forum Supporter) UberDork
3/12/21 8:05 a.m.
obsolete said:

This is a fun read! Thanks for posting.

Agreed

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/12/21 9:37 a.m.

Thanks guys, and I'm glad you like it! 

I've owned the car for a summer and a half now, but have really been feeling "bleh" about working on it in these post COVID times.  Add in the fact that any time under the car is time I'm not working on the house and it's been really difficult to justify the time and money needed to play in the garage.  I'm hoping you guys will keep me on track and that this thread will get a little motivation under me to change all of that that.  (all work and no play, makes Bill a dull boy)

Also, I really have no set direction I think this thing will take but I do know I need it to be "street legal" (note, I didnt say "streetable".  my commute is 5km.  I can drive just about anything that far devil), and the law here (basically) requires no changes from stock.  Example:  You can change the wheels, but the same offset, diameter, etc will be used.  Anything that deviates from that needs TUV approval.

Any mods I make are going to have to sneak passed the untrained eye... wink

Good times.

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/16/21 8:55 a.m.

By george, I think it's working!

I was suffering from a fit of motivation on Monday, so I decided it would be a good idea to tear into some engine internals to see if I couldn't do something I've been putting off for almost all winter.

The pre-2009 RX8's are reported to suffer from low oil pressure which can result in bearing failure (CarThrottle on youtube bought an example with such a failure) and Racing Beat reports that they've seen pressures as low a 40psi (should be closer to 80).  The post-2009 examples came with uprated oil systems that supplied the engines life blood at pressures closer to 115psi.  But for us early examples, we have to turn to the aftermarket.  Enter, the Racing Beat Oil Pressure Regulator.

RX8 Oil Pressure System Upgrade Kit

 


(channels inner "Moog/Marty") "To get access to the RX8's stock oil pressure regulator, we must first jack up the car:

 

 

 

I dont remember having to do this the last time i was under her, but this thing sat so low that I couldnt get my low-profile jack into position.  I found a strong spot near the seam that let me pick the car up high enough to get my other jack into the correct position.

Access to the entire pan was easy enough, but the interwebz warned me that the pan would be glued to the engine and that any attempts to use my standard issue pry-drivers would bend things out of wack long before the pan did what I was asking it to do.  To get around that disaster, I found the thinnest piece of aluminum in my scrap bin and gave it a bit of an edge with my bench grinder




Dear time travelers of the future!  I'd like to pause here for a moment to ask you for a favor:

When you get a second I would like to ask that you find 1999 me (He's the guy terrorizing Thrasher's corner in Bothell, WA in a blue FB) and tell him something for me.  Tell him (me?) that one day he's going to be working on his RX8 (yes, 1999 me.  That petition you signed on the ancient internet ended up convincing mazda to produce a rotary powered successor to the 7!  Go you!) and you're (I'm?) going to have to sharpen a piece of aluminum to get your (my?) oil pan off because you left all your putty knives at his (my?) second house he bought in Hungary.

Take a picture of his face and post it here please.  Thanks.

On with our programming:

Access is easy enough once the pan is removed

 

 

See that bit of gray oil there in the pan and on the dip stick?  That's an indicator that Bill here is a bad rotary owner.  Short drives don't get the oil hot enough to evaporate that crap out of the oil system and eventually it ends up looking like I blew a seal (what? no!  this is just ice cream!).  A redline a day with these really does keep the mechanic away.  And if I'm going to be using this to commute, I really should be driving it long enough to make sure that crap doesn't build up.

Movin on!

 

There she is!

One breaker bar and a 26mm socket later and it was "wham-bam, thank you ma'am".

Installation was the opposite of removal and everything was going GREAT until it was time to put that last bolt in...

 

aaaaand it wouldn't go.  It wouldnt even start to go.  Worse yet, I dont have any thread chasers (only a tap and die set) to clean that badboy up...

I was able to use a jewlers file to clean up the damage just enough to get it installed and torqued.

 



 

Shortly after, my helpers arrived!

 

 

Once done and buttoned up, I went out for a quick jaunt down the highway to make sure nothing was going to explode, leak, or catch fire and wouldnt you know?  Things went pretty well!

I dinged it off the redline a few times (see?  not only is this thread helping get more garage time, it's helping me be a better owner as well!) I was able to verify that the oil pressure was getting up to 90+psi at 9000rpms.  Afterwards, social stereotypes mandate that I drink carbonated alcoholic beverages to celebrate.  So I did.

Good times.

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/16/21 9:13 a.m.

 Lets play "spot the filter", shall we?


See, you cant tell me that Mazda didnt know better because I've owned an FB....


FB (The "B" stands for "Beginners level"):

The RX-7 Story, Part II: Red – Spannerhead



RX-8 (The "X" stands for "Expert")



See it back there?  Way back in its own little compartment of pain?  If I had anything that resembled "weight" or "muscle" on me, that thing would never get changed...

I forgot to mention that with the uprated oil pressure regulator, there is a discussion on the RX8 forums as to whether or not one should be using post 2009 filters to account for the higher oil pressure.  The argument is that the stock 2004-2008 unit will bypass under the new grunt.

Somewhere in the discussion it was noticed that only the Mazda units had different part numbers for the two generations of oil filters.  Aftermarket units, it seems, all fall under one part number. 

Unfortunately, shortly after that point the whole thing devolved into and argument and no verifiable/factual information was ever shared.




I was able to verify locally that the aftermarket part numbers did not differ, so I put the whole shebang in the "someone elses' problem" bin and just ordered an oil filter for an RX8.

(Author's rendition of said forum discussion)

 



Good times

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/16/21 9:14 a.m.

I mean, yes. But I still feel attacked...

FMB42
FMB42 Reader
3/16/21 11:43 a.m.

That you bought a house says it all. One the funniest posts I've ever read was when a guy said that he was looking forward to spending lots of time on his new dirt bike, but that it would be in a week or 2 because he just bought a house...

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
3/16/21 11:51 a.m.
FMB42 said:

That you bought a house says it all. One the funniest posts I've ever read was when a guy said that he was looking forward to spending lots of time on his new dirt bike, but that it would be in a week or 2 because he just bought a house...

As a home owner I can not argue with this at all. 

RedGT
RedGT Dork
3/16/21 4:19 p.m.

If you get that milkshake goo on your dipstick too (no comment) there is a TSB and rerouted venting kit to make the PCV system work better (like many small issues in these, mazda fixed it by 2007-2009) and eliminate it.  But fi you're ONLY getting that little bit in the pan just driving it to full warmup should take care of it.

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/18/21 5:40 a.m.
RedGT said:

If you get that milkshake goo on your dipstick too (no comment) there is a TSB and rerouted venting kit to make the PCV system work better (like many small issues in these, mazda fixed it by 2007-2009) and eliminate it.  But fi you're ONLY getting that little bit in the pan just driving it to full warmup should take care of it.

Awesome!  Thanks!

It took me a couple of tries, but i found it.


TSB Link for readers of the future

I just went back and checked my commute (blue line, below).  4.6km.  Yikes.


I tried driving across town, and then zipping down the highway (red line, above) to get more temperature into her, but what a pain in the butt that was.  I dont think I got the coolant over 80C, and the oil was lower than that...   I'm just going to have to take her out every once in a while and flog her a bit.  I am loving the new oil pressure though.  Seeing the gauge nearly pegged has me just tickled pink.

Good times.

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/18/21 5:42 a.m.
FMB42 said:

That you bought a house says it all. One the funniest posts I've ever read was when a guy said that he was looking forward to spending lots of time on his new dirt bike, but that it would be in a week or 2 because he just bought a house...

Too funny!

A year ago January, when we bought the house we told people it would probably be 2-years before we were finished.


When people ask us now, how much longer?  We still say 2-years laugh

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/18/21 5:46 a.m.
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) said:
FMB42 said:

That you bought a house says it all. One the funniest posts I've ever read was when a guy said that he was looking forward to spending lots of time on his new dirt bike, but that it would be in a week or 2 because he just bought a house...

As a home owner I can not argue with this at all. 


You think we would eventually learn, but we never do.  It was such a relief for us when we went back to renting after we sold our house in Tacoma...  All the problems would be someone elses...

And now that we're renting, we really cant wait until we have our own house finished.  We wouldnt have to wait for the darn landlord to call someone, we could just fix everything ourselves.

 

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/18/21 5:54 a.m.

Speaking of the house...  If we're going to add this bit of house to the place (currently the place is just a rectangle)

 

We're going to have to get rid of the garage and outbuildings that's attached itself to it...

(ooh!  See the second doorway there on the left?  That's a potty!)

 

 

Ta-da!

Meanwhile, the inside of the house looks like this:

 

 

Many hands  make light work.

We're nearly finished ripping up the floors and stripping back the walls.  After that, we have to dig down 42cm into the dirt so we can insulate our floors from moisture that wicks up from underneath (walls will need to be insulated as well).  Right now, we're having trouble finding a mason.  The general rule here is that anyone who can leave and work in Germany/Austria, leaves as soon as they can.  Wages are much better on the other side of the border.  Those that stay behind are the guys that are "too old" or who couldnt get hired elsewhere. 

It's estimated that the house was built between the world wars and apparently that was a prosperous period for Hungary (Seems at odds with what I thought I knew about Trianon, etc).  People cite our high walls and tall foundation as things that were foregone in less fortunate economic periods.

Good times

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/25/21 6:58 a.m.

Working on the RX8 really is a triumph of optimism over reality.  I call this next photo "while I'm in there..."

 

Let me explain how this all started...

See, the "worlds most reliable vehicle of the 80's" is at the mechanics because it decided to ingest its transmission internals randomly one morning.  Since it was away, i decided that NOW would be a good time to fix my AC.  My compressor seized itself solid at my last trackday, and I've since replaced the idler and bought a new belt.  But there are some jagged remains on my pulley I need to clean off before I can send it in to have a new compressor installed (I figured having a pro drain and refill my AC was the responsible thing to do)...

 

 

 

Except, "while I'm in there" I notice that there's a bunch of crap under the air pump that looks like a nest?   Weasels getting into your engine bay is very much an issue here so I should probably clean that out...

 

 

Some general brushing, followed by soap and water...

 

 

And there she is after cleaning with leftover methanol and a tooth brush...

 

And "boop!" she's all pretty again.  The stuff I thought might have been weasel droppings turned out to be just junk collected from being parked under trees, etc. and nothing more.

Back on task I had to remove the battery to get better access to the crank pulley, but "while I'm in there" I might as well remove and clean the airbox too...

 

 

I get the pulley removed...

 

But "while I'm in there" I might as well install the Racing Beat thermopellet that was sent with the new oil pressure regulator...

(Clip copied from Atkins Rotary )

 

Now I'm vaguely familiar with the pulley main bolt removal as I went through the process with my FC when I rebuilt it...  IIRC, Mazda uses loctite to hold that puppy in place so heat needs to be applied to get it off.

'Cept I dont have heat... 

I have the torch head, but I've never seen torch bottles for sale around here.  I made a quick run to ye olde local hardware store (it's 2 guys behind a counter in a shop that's the size of my single car garage).  I ask and they replied that I wont find any torch gas locally.  Nearest is 45 minutes away at a national chain store...

Me:  "None?  No torch gas at all?  What do you use when you're working on your car and the bolt is too tight?"

He:  "We use a torch"  

Me:  (Ponders this interesting conundrum I seem to have found myself in)  "ok then.  I'm going to need a 1-inch drive impact socket in 17mm please"

 

I fit my new socket to my "I wasnt asking" bar, put the car in 6th gear, chocked the wheels, set the e-brake aaaaaaaand....

nope.  didnt even budge

So I fit the appropriate amount of "daddy's drinking the angry juice and using the no-no words" extension to the "I wasnt asking bar" aaaaaaaaaand...

Nope.  Nem.  Nein.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nothing...

 

All the grunt I got, bracing myself against the passenger tire, pulling for all it's worth and that thing refuses to move.  Loctite is legit, yo.

Ok muscles, you had your chance.  Let brain have a go.  It's time to McGuiver...

 

 

That's an empty can of camp-cooking gas, hose clamped to a torch head, with a ball-peen and a nail in the shot...  (No idea why it decided to implode since I last used it)

You know where this is going, and I've had some luck with it before, but this is an attempt for another day.  It's getting late, and I work from home until Thursday so I should have plenty of time to take care of this in small bites during the week.

For now, let's have a moment of zen:

Then...



and now...

Good times.

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/25/21 7:02 a.m.

So, now it's Thursday and I have to be at the office.  Of course I had time during the "work from home" period to finish what I needed to do... right?

 

 

Shoot no...  With the kids schools shut down, we havent even had a chance to catch up on our chores!  It turns out that working from home simply allows you to fall extremely behind in your personal and professional responsibilities at the same time.  You "work" and you're "home" but nothing ever gets done.  In short, she sits very much how we left her:


 

 

 

So when one takes apart his only running vehicle and doesnt put it back together... how does he get to work?


And I still havent put the compressor on order...
 

Good times

 

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/25/21 7:33 a.m.

See this RX8 at my office's parking lot?  There are many like it, but this one is not mine.  laugh

 



That one there belongs to my good buddy Zsolt.  You might remember Zsolt from my Mercedes Ownership Log in Kuwait.  He looks something like this:

 

 

Short story long, the two of us are still working together...

Anyhoo.  He calls one morning and asks "can I borrow your Mazda?" (I immediately start laughing because I know EXACTLY where this is going to end).

I give him the keys and spent the day sending him memes.  He texts back complaining that he can watch the gas needle go down.  The next weekend, he's gone out and bought the same exact Mazda RX8 I have.

I'm still laughing at this point because I know what comes next.  but before I can tell you that story, I must first tell you this story:

Zsolt is as grassroots as the rest of us.  I have no idea why he's not on here.  He used to smuggle gas to Romania as a teenager in a Mercedes W123 (he used compressed air to expand the tank to hold something like  90-liters).  He's got a fiat 650 on a rotisserie.  He's got a new-ish BMW 5-series wagon, his RX8 (now), A yamaha motorcycle (R1?) he takes to the track, and I'm pretty sure he still had his Honda Prelude at the time.

Now.  This is where this was going:  The Mazda RX8 is SO unreliable that after only ONE WEEK of ownership, none of his vehicles were running...

and Zsolt was riding his bicycle to work

I haven't laughed that hard in a while.

Now he's laughing smiley

Good times.

bonylad
bonylad Reader
3/25/21 9:19 a.m.

Outstanding! Love your writing style and the content is even better! Cant wait to see whats next on this!  

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/26/21 3:15 a.m.
bonylad said:

Outstanding! Love your writing style and the content is even better! Cant wait to see whats next on this!  

haha!  Thanks man.  I'm definitely having more fun with the car since I've started this thread.  Glad you're liking it!

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