RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

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RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by Louisdg » Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:29 pm

Hi,
I'm new here and have got a question that I would love some advice on pretty quickly:

This July, I am driving 10,000 miles from the UK to Ulan Ude (Eastern Siberia) as part of a 3 man team, in the Mongol Rally.
We are driving through the middle east and Mongolia along some pretty horrific pot holed dirt roads that are only really suited to 4x4's, and not what the RX8 was probably built for, and will be driving for about 10 hours a day for 40 or 50 days.
Do you reckon an RX8 would manage it, if it was beefed up and had some work done on it before going? We would obviously drive it very carefully and look after it as best we could and would be driving at around 25mph for most of it due to road conditions, but the terrain will be very nasty and it will be long days.

I've got my eye on one that is in good condition with 70,000 miles on it, but the owner will only keep it for me for 2 days before I need to make a decision (this being one of the days), so quick replies would be really appreciated!

Thanks for any help or advice:)
Louis

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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by casey » Wed Jan 08, 2020 2:15 pm

My initial reaction would be that the RX-8, a sports car, is not suitable for this trip. Driving over potholes and at 25 mph, maybe in July hot conditions, is not what the car was designed for, and well may result in overheating and suspension issues. Ground clearance is low too of course.

Fuel consumption would also be horrendous - I reckon you'd be lucky to average 18mpg.

I'm not saying it couldn't do it, but it's not a good choice for this type of journey.

Good luck though, sounds a great adventure :D
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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by Vian » Wed Jan 08, 2020 2:37 pm

A friend of mine did this rally. When he got back he laughed a few times about the idea of doing it in an RX8 or indeed any kind of sports car. Let's just say he didn't recommend it, also for the lack of storage space for everything you need to take with you as its unsuitability. Don't you also hand over the car to the locals at the end of it?

I'm happy to ask him if you wish and I'll post his reply.
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RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by Nerdstrike » Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:33 pm

£2k for the car, £3k for the fuel (at a guess), a good chunk more swapping out to higher profile tyres and more robust suspension, increasing the ride height a bit. I think the most perilous part might be range between fuel stops. You also presumably need to carry spare wheels and the odd jerry can somewhere (roof?).

It'd be a more commdious ride than a Defender I suppose.

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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by Louisdg » Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:44 pm

Vian wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 2:37 pm
A friend of mine did this rally. When he got back he laughed a few times about the idea of doing it in an RX8 or indeed any kind of sports car. Let's just say he didn't recommend it, also for the lack of storage space for everything you need to take with you as its unsuitability. Don't you also hand over the car to the locals at the end of it?

I'm happy to ask him if you wish and I'll post his reply.
Thanks for the replys.
I'm aware doing it in a sports car is an entirely stupid idea, let alone one with a rotary engine, but that's kind of the point of the rally. The only rules are that the car has to be entirely unsuitable, 2WD, and less than 1.2 litre engine size. (I'd get away with the 1.3 rx8 though just because of how well it fits the other 2 boxes).

The car is £900, fuel costs should be £1,200 (fuel costs for normal hatchbacks doing the rally are about £600), and I'd try and get a sponsor, or possibly Mazda, to work on the engine if needed and suspension. I'm also currently trying to get tyres from a sponsor too. We'd have a jerry can or two of fuel on the roof. The car gets shipped back to the UK at the end of the rally.

I'd get the suspension raised to help with the ground clearance, and weld a large roof tray on for storage, the only worry I have is the engine reliability, and how easy it would be to source replacement parts when (not if :/ ) various things go wrong in a Kazakhstani desert somewhere. It'd be a shame not to finish the rally.
How reliable are the engines if they are well kept, but running 10 hour days at 23mph on dirt roads in deserts?...

Cheers,
Louis :)

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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by Yorindesarin » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:05 pm

You'd probably have to sit in 2nd gear most of the time at or above 4k RPM possibly sometimes 3rd can't imagine you'd get away with 4th at decent RPMs to keep everything happy... Also take into account that even with a good compression test etc an engine can still go wrong besides apex seals. Also add in the fact you'll likely use a bit of oil as well as fuel sitting in low gear at high revs all the time. Just seems like an easy way to spend all that time/sponsorship on the car to then not finish because it'll be really hard to go anywhere if a bearing goes wrong.
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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by casey » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:08 pm

Louisdg wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:44 pm
How reliable are the engines if they are well kept, but running 10 hour days at 23mph on dirt roads in deserts?...
Ah, I'd missed the point that the rally is intended to run with "unsuitable" cars :lol:

I'm not sure anyone will have experience of such low speed running of an RX-8 for long periods in desert conditions :D

I'd predict you'll have an issue with engine overheating in those conditions in 1st and 2nd gear (you won't reach 3rd at those speeds in a 6 speed box) due to the low speed hot airflow. Maybe a question to ask Mazda direct, as they presumably would have run some prototype testing in extreme temperature conditions during the design of the car.
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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by Yorindesarin » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:12 pm

I imagine the second oil cooler would actually be used for once.
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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by Vian » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:40 pm

My friend said that obviously you'll be ok in Europe, but once you get beyond that it's difficult, and once you get to central Asia the real fun begins, with potholes big enough to stand in and huge distances that aren't roads at all. His observation was that it was like a Top Gear/Grand Tour expedition without having support cars in attendance, so if something goes wrong, you're stuffed, because there's no way of repairing anything.

I admire you considering it though. And it would be a hell of a trip. If I might offer a suggestion if you want to get support from Mazda, carry on past Mongolia and go all the way to Hiroshima for them to give the car a service or something. They might well be up for something as iconic as that.
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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by chiron » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:44 pm

sounds utterly stupid to attempt in an RX8....


DO IT !
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Have a good time, all the time :thumright:

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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by Louisdg » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:54 pm

casey wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:08 pm
Louisdg wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:44 pm
How reliable are the engines if they are well kept, but running 10 hour days at 23mph on dirt roads in deserts?...
Maybe a question to ask Mazda direct, as they presumably would have run some prototype testing in extreme temperature conditions during the design of the car.
I called up my local Mazda Dealer, who patched me through to someone who apparently knew what he was talking about, and he was incredibly confident that the car would do it with absolutely no issues if it was in good condition.
I'm not quite sure he realises how rubbish the roads are though, and I don't entirely share in his optimism, but thought you guys would be the best port of call after that.
Thanks for all the info though and I'd welcome any more on possible reasons that anyone could think of that make it a bad idea, or things that are likely to go wrong. Or just any advice really :)

Cheers

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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by casey » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:12 pm

No good talking to a Mazda dealership for advice :lol: - contact the Mazda UK HQ at Dartford,

My last contact there was with Grant Richards, who was on the Mazda Brand team. I think he's still there, but haven't been in touch with him since 2018, so may have moved on: grichards@mazdaeur.com

Failing that, try their Customer Relations dept 03457 48 48 48

You never know, it's something that Mazda might wish to support for publicity purposes.

You're must be completely bonkers to do this, but I hope you do :lol: :thumleft:
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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by warpc0il » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:16 pm

Louisdg wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:44 pm

I'm aware doing it in a sports car is an entirely stupid idea, let alone one with a rotary engine, but that's kind of the point of the rally. The only rules are that the car has to be entirely unsuitable, 2WD, and less than 1.2 litre engine size. (I'd get away with the 1.3 rx8 though just because of how well it fits the other 2 boxes).
Although Mazda tried to convince the world that the Renesis is "only 13.L", most of the world has long since caught on.
In the UK all RX-8s are now registered as 2.6L
In Ireland they're 1.755L
In other markets the calculations varies.

You might want to check with the organisers that you'd qualify in an RX-8
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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by Vian » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:20 pm

Think he's got a point though. It's so fantastically unsuitable that they might just fall about laughing and say "go for it".
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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by New Duke » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:37 pm

Good on you for asking questions Louis. Of course you should do it in the RX8. You'll turn heads... which is half the point. ANY car short of a H1 Hummer is totally unsuitable for the rally, so you may as well do something different.

Best people you can speak to (after Mazda HQ) is Minty Fresh Racing who run an RX8 in Rallycross. Which is about as close in experience as you'll get:
https://en-gb.facebook.com/MintyFreshRacing/

Your mods sound sensible and in general the RX8 is a solid chassis and compared to other cars it's reaaaaally easy to work on if something breaks. The engine is solid, don't worry about that. Renesis engines seem to last really well in racing/track and endurance compared to piston equivalents. But that's assuming the engine isn't FUBAR to begin with. So you'll need to be sure the car has good compression and cross your fingers, especially at your price range and mileage. You're unlikely to be able to fix it out there if the engine dies... but then the same is with any engine.

As said overheating will be your enemy. So you'll want to ensure it comes with a stock air intake... then you can mod it from there. A ram scoop might help. I wouldn't bother with a CAI as there's unlikely to be any cold air! Managing your revs is the best way to keep it cool. Brake cooling ducts in place of the fog lights might be a good idea too.

Reinforce the underside with some armour. The fuel tank is exposed under the rear seats for example.

Also keep in mind that the view isn't great out of the back windows. Something to keep in mind if you're a 3 person team.

Better double check as Warpc0il said that they will allow an RX8... then go for it :thumright:
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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by warpc0il » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:38 pm

Back in '93 I was involved in providing communications support to a Ford sponsored attempt to drive from London, through Europe, Russia, over the (frozen Bering Strait) to Alaska , Canada and on to the US; in a couple of standard Ford Mavericks ( aka Nissan Terrano) and a modified Mondeo 4x4.

They probably would have made it but the Siberian winter was even colder than expected and their Russian support team kept drinking the antifreeze, their trucks being air-cooled. The truck engines had to be left running 24 hours a day, otherwise the oil would get too cold to pump.

By the time we arranged to airdrop some more antifreeze supplies (twice !!) they were so far behind schedule that the ice on the Strait was no longer drivable and they had air-transport the cars to Alaska.

One of the drivers nearly died and one of the camera crew lost fingers to frostbite.
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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by New Duke » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:39 pm

warpc0il wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:38 pm
their Russian support team kept drinking the antifreeze
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Love it.

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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by boosted » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:43 pm

Defo wanna a fit a nice thick sump guard...id run a 40 or 50 weight oil as its gonna thin out in the heat. A cloth interior not the leather...Strip the rear seats and loads of room.
Big chunky tyres and uprated springs.
The standard fans on the rad are epic but maybe consider evans waterless coolant as it physically cant boil over....
I think a 192 with a rebuild using 231 bearing would be a better choice as the gearing is longer and only 1 oil cooler to hit.
I reckon it could do it you just gotta get the right rx8 and mods.


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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by Vian » Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:08 pm

My friend has sent me some photos of the roads in darkest Kazakhstan that you'll be using...you'll be fine! :rofl: :rofl:
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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by Yorindesarin » Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:11 pm

Seems like some 10ft wooden planks to drive across wouldn't go amiss on modifications. Ahah.
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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by boosted » Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:12 pm

That looks like roads round here...I dodge potholes on my way to work...

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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by New Duke » Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:19 pm

boosted wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:12 pm
That looks like roads round here...I dodge potholes on my way to work...

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I was about to say that! We have WORSE roads than that here in Essex :D

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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by Louisdg » Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:21 pm

Vian wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:08 pm
My friend has sent me some photos of the roads in darkest Kazakhstan that you'll be using...you'll be fine! :rofl: :rofl:
Theres tarmac! which is a lot better than I was expecting, so I'm taking this a positive :)

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Re: RX8 on the Mongol Rally?... (10,000 mile trip to Eastern Siberia)

Post by Louisdg » Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:22 pm

I've heard it really starts to get bad in Mongolia though :/

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