Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

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Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by R1DSO » Sat Feb 08, 2020 10:24 pm

Long time forum reader, first time poster...

I went to view an R3 RX-8 today which I’m considering buying. I think it had a little bit of a laboured hot start and a slightly lumpy idle. However, I only have driven one other R3 RX-8 to compare it to and this was a while ago.

Here are a couple of videos. Interested to hear thoughts on this. I think the car is due new ignition coils, which could (perhaps?) explain the start and idle:

Start:
https://youtu.be/mbJIZQ6x69w

Some gear stick vibration at idle:
https://youtu.be/ZGhxoOfxpMA

The car looked straight and pulled smoothly without hesitation. Power seemed a little down vs what I remember the other R3 I drove to be like (possibly the ignition coils?), but there was loads of traffic stopping me from giving it much right foot when test driving.

The car has 50k miles and is priced at the upper end of the R3 market. I am considering making a sensible offer subject to a compression test showing rotor figures at 7 or above on all rotors at 250rpm. I know that’s the official Mazda ‘fail’ rate, but is 7 or above realistic for a car of this age and mileage?

I also noticed that the engine coolant level sensor light remained on, although the engine didn’t overheat. I believe I may need to flush the coolant bottle to fix that.

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Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by kopite72 » Sat Feb 08, 2020 11:23 pm

No problem with that start, OK it didn't fire instantly but it's nothing to worry about.

Gear stick vibration is perfectly normal too.Absolutely get a compression test done but don't be overly hung up on the figures. Plenty of rotaries running well below mazda figure of 6.8 ( mine included) that are quite happily bombing along.

What I'd be more concerned about in a compression test is if the figures varied alot. This would indicate worrying wear rates on the faces of the rotors which is what you don't want. You ideally want to see numbers that are pretty close together which indicates nice even wear rates
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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by Nickp47 » Sat Feb 08, 2020 11:43 pm

Coolant level light is VERY common so if coolant is at the correct level nothing to worry about

Don’t be too fixed on 7s in compression, it is nice to have those numbers but these are not new cars anymore, my personal opinion is around mid 6s are still fine.

I thought a shaky gear stick was a sign of failing engine mounts but happy to be corrected?

And yeah, budget for updating ignition system ASAP as that should have the car starting spot on and possibly pulling a bit stronger.

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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by R1DSO » Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:22 am

Many thanks for the replies and advice. Great to hear the start is OK and the coolant light is a simple fix. Failing engine mounts sound less good, though. Are they an engine out job to fix?

The car is missing two years of service history receipts which I’m trying to track down records for through Mazda. But, assuming it was serviced in those missing years and the coil packs weren’t replaced then, it may still have the originals and so could be well over due!

Got it on the numbers not varying too much between rotors, although not 100% sure of what level is acceptable variance.

My thinking on the compression numbers is that I shouldn’t be paying top dollar R3 prices if the test comes back as an official Mazda fail. If the numbers are close together and in the mid 6s, then it might be worth a reduced offer.

The alternative would be to buy a poor condition R3 for a couple of £k less and spend the saving on an engine rebuild. But, I would rather start with a better example like the one I’m looking at tbh.

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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by warpc0il » Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:27 am

Replacing engine mounts takes about and hours and just needs the usual tools and a trolley jack.

Some bedtime reading...
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=27054
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=36004
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=36282
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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by R1DSO » Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:44 am

warpc0il wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:27 am
Replacing engine mounts takes about and hours and just needs the usual tools and a trolley jack.

Some bedtime reading...
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=27054
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=36004
viewtopic.php?f=25&t=36282
Great, thank you. I think I’ve read a fair bit of what’s in the second couple of links already, but will have a good study.

Looks like I can do the engine mounts myself if that’s the issue. Just another £200 of parts to factor in to my budget :).

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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by New Duke » Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:58 am

Couple of thoughts to add:

The gear stick will always vibrate/shake a bit in idle, even after replacing worn mounts with new/refurbed engine mounts which are almost always harder than the OEM ones. So don't be upset if you replace them and the knob still wobbles... it should just wobble less than it does now.

Agreed that start up was slow but normal... if the engine was cold. As the engine was warm I'd budget for a new battery in the near future.

If you do buy it then replace both belts asap and inspect/adjust the pulleys too. Squeaking from the belts is normal on very cold start up, but as the engine was warm they shouldn't squeak like that.

All those are at least easy jobs for you if you're handy with a socket set, or quick for any mechanic.

On the compression numbers, if they are gonna be supplied by the seller then there's no point believing them or even having them do it. Sorry but they're only worth having if your own rotary specialist travels there and does the test themselves. But also don't worry about compression numbers, if you like the car then buy it and take the gamble.

Having said that, the car clearly needs some TLC. So if it's still priced at the top of the R3 market you should negotiate some money off the asking price. Good luck!

And well done for looking at a black one... easily the coolest colour for an R3 :thumright:


EDIT: Forgot to add about that coolant light. It's fine in the short term (as nick said) if you check the coolant tank religiously every time you drive the car. But you can't ignore it and will need to fix it.

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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by SprintRX8 » Sun Feb 09, 2020 10:36 am

Is that the one at the Sw19 Honda Garage.
8 previous owners.
2009 higher tax bracket.
Don’t know it but appears overpriced to me.
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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by warpc0il » Sun Feb 09, 2020 10:50 am

All R3s are "higher tax bracket" as that applies to any 8 registered after (May?) 2006 and the R3 wasn't introduced until '09.

As an '09 it would have had the chocolate synchros, so need to check that these have been replaced under warranty.
At least it should have the smaller mirrors, not the dumbo ears of the later ones
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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by R1DSO » Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:20 pm

Yeah, it’s had a lot of owners. Not exactly the reassurance you get from a low owner enthusiast car which has benefited from premix and 5k oil changes. I can live with that If the compression test comes out OK, albeit I get that it’s a bit of a gamble receiving these from the seller. I’d be kicking off proper DIY preventative maintenance from there on in. This would be a car I’d plan to keep for a long time. It’ll be a weekend fun car, not a daily.

I couldn’t see any record of the synchros being replaced in the service history that was there. The gear change did feel a little notchy and I noticed some (what I thought was) transmission whine when decelerating in gear. I assume this is linked. A quick search on here seems to imply the solution is a fairly expensive new gearbox or transmission rebuild if this becomes a bigger issue.

It is a bit expensive for the list of TLC items it needs. Will budget in a new battery, coolant tank and pulleys. Out of interest, what are the consequences of not getting the pulleys done?

And, yes, I do like the R3 in black. It will match the colour of my other car, which appeases my OCD too :D.

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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by SprintRX8 » Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:35 pm

warpc0il wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 10:50 am
All R3s are "higher tax bracket" as that applies to any 8 registered after (May?) 2006 and the R3 wasn't introduced until '09.

As an '09 it would have had the chocolate synchros, so need to check that these have been replaced under warranty.
At least it should have the smaller mirrors, not the dumbo ears of the later ones
Cheers Dave wasn’t sure if he knew.

Drivers seat looks well used.
Wheels kerbed.
Have you done the usual check HPi mot etc.
13B rotary powered Dolomite Sprint in the making😏.

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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by R1DSO » Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:43 pm

SprintRX8 wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:35 pm
warpc0il wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 10:50 am
All R3s are "higher tax bracket" as that applies to any 8 registered after (May?) 2006 and the R3 wasn't introduced until '09.

As an '09 it would have had the chocolate synchros, so need to check that these have been replaced under warranty.
At least it should have the smaller mirrors, not the dumbo ears of the later ones
Cheers Dave wasn’t sure if he knew.

Drivers seat looks well used.
Wheels kerbed.
Have you done the usual check HPi mot etc.
All 4 wheels look like someone’s taken a tin opener to them and need refurbing. I haven’t refurbed wheels like the R3’s which are painted, but assume getting them back to their gun metal colour is a fairly standard job.

It’s got a new MOT, but with advisories for rear brake pads and deteriorated rear anti-roll bar linkage dust covers. One tyre has an advisory too, but is still legal.

I haven’t done an HPI check as it was a franchised dealer trade in, so (I believe) they check that. The seat is worn, but not actually as bad as a 30k mile R3 I viewed last year. I kind of fancy getting the seats retrimmed in full leather later down the line if that’s possible (and not crazy expensive) with the R3 Recarros.

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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by SprintRX8 » Sun Feb 09, 2020 2:23 pm

Personally I’ll get your own HPi check done
Unless they can show you the recent paperwork.
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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by New Duke » Sun Feb 09, 2020 5:43 pm

Sounds like you've got just the right attitude :thumleft:

Mine also had numerous owners and hadn't been well looked after. I bought it from a franchised car trader. So gradually (over about 2 years) I put it all right and it's now a fine example. Provided you're in love with the car then it's a worthwhile, if time consuming, investment. It's very satisfying on track when you can run rings around cars that cost 2-3 times more.

When my gearbox ate itself on track at the end of 2018 I was able to get a series 1 gearbox supplied and fitted for £350. So it's not the end of the world.
R1DSO wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 12:20 pm
It is a bit expensive for the list of TLC items it needs. Will budget in a new battery, coolant tank and pulleys. Out of interest, what are the consequences of not getting the pulleys done?
A belt snapping if they're old and the tension is wrong can lead to unhappy times. But the pulleys themselves probably don't need replacing unless they're worn or cracked. If they're squealing then it's likely that either the belts are old or the pulleys need to be adjusted, as the tension or angle of the belts will be wrong. Which is a very easy job rectify involving turning a bolt to raise the pulley to tighten or slacken the belt. The pulleys need to be lowered to fit new belts anyway, so you may as well buy a new belt set for £20, then tension the pulleys and see if that solves the issue.

At least you can now confidently explain to the seller the servicing that the car needs immediately, will hopefully make getting a few hundred off the asking price less of a struggle.

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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by R1DSO » Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:28 pm

That’s good to know about the not too bad cost of swapping in an s1 gearbox should it come to it. The pulley belts sound like a no brainier for me to do too. I see there are quite a few lightened pulley sets out there (Essex Rotary etc.), but the jury seems to be out on their effectiveness on the Renesis.

All the advice on here has been really helpful; thanks again everyone. Armed with this knowledge, I agreed a price with the dealer that I’m happy with and paid a deposit to reserve the car and get the compression test done at the network’s Mazda garage.

The deal is dependant on compression test figures above the Mazda fail rate so fingers crossed! The dealer is going to service the car and do some of the TLC work, leaving a little budget for me to do the rest over the coming weeks.

The Adrian Flux insurance quote I’ve got so far doesn’t include track days, but I would like to ultimately have that option with the RX-8. I‘ll look in to how much extra the premium would be vs pay-per-day track day insurance.

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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by Shagrington » Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:27 am

Hi and :welcome: R1DSO. :D I don't think I can add to the already very good advice you've had, so I'll just wish you good luck - and if/when you do get the one you're looking at I can give you my list of tips for new owners if you want them.
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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by R1DSO » Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:55 am

Shagrington wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:27 am
Hi and :welcome: R1DSO. :D I don't think I can add to the already very good advice you've had, so I'll just wish you good luck - and if/when you do get the one you're looking at I can give you my list of tips for new owners if you want them.
Thanks for the welcome Shagrington. Any further tips will be gratefully received :thumleft:. I’ll report back when the compression test has gone through and (hopefully!) I’ve picked up my first RX-8!

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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by Ryan Rotary Performance » Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:09 am

R1DSO wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 8:28 pm
That’s good to know about the not too bad cost of swapping in an s1 gearbox should it come to it. The pulley belts sound like a no brainier for me to do too. I see there are quite a few lightened pulley sets out there (Essex Rotary etc.), but the jury seems to be out on their effectiveness on the Renesis.
By far the largest range and best looking pulleys (IMO) are here:

we are also the only manufacturer to have a complete 4 piece kit for both the S1 and R3.

https://www.ryanrotaryperformance.com/p ... er-systems
Pulleys.jpg
I saw you mentioned engine mounts too:

https://www.ryanrotaryperformance.com/s ... ine-mounts
Engine Mount.jpg

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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by nightfire10 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 10:18 am

R1DSO wrote:That’s good to know about the not too bad cost of swapping in an s1 gearbox should it come to it. The pulley belts sound like a no brainier for me to do too. I see there are quite a few lightened pulley sets out there (Essex Rotary etc.), but the jury seems to be out on their effectiveness on the Renesis.

All the advice on here has been really helpful; thanks again everyone. Armed with this knowledge, I agreed a price with the dealer that I’m happy with and paid a deposit to reserve the car and get the compression test done at the network’s Mazda garage.

The deal is dependant on compression test figures above the Mazda fail rate so fingers crossed! The dealer is going to service the car and do some of the TLC work, leaving a little budget for me to do the rest over the coming weeks.

The Adrian Flux insurance quote I’ve got so far doesn’t include track days, but I would like to ultimately have that option with the RX-8. I‘ll look in to how much extra the premium would be vs pay-per-day track day insurance.
I insure mine with reis motorsport including 6 track days at selected tracks

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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by casey » Mon Feb 10, 2020 3:29 pm

I've insured my RX-8 with REIS since April 2010. Very good deal if you want trackday cover. I would pay more for 6 standalone trackday covers than I would for the price of the entire policy!
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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by R1DSO » Mon Feb 10, 2020 9:09 pm

Thanks for the product links Carl. They look very nice. Will keep in mind when I start ordering parts 👍.

One of the reasons I got a quote from Adrian Flux is that they recognise a no claims bonus that’s lapsed (without a policy) for between 2 and 3 years. I share my main car with my other half. I commute on the train and she needs the car and policy in her name for company allowance perks, hence the lapsed NCB.

One of the reasons why I’m finally buying an RX-8 now, is so that I don’t lose my very long NCB. At least, that’s how I’m helping to justifying it, anyway. I LOVE the car too 😀.

Adrian Flux are holding me over a barrel with their premium quote for recognising the lapsed NCB, although I could insure with any other insurer with a recognised NCB next year without the cost hike.

Thank you for the Reis recommendation. I’ll give them a call to see if they can do the NCB recognition too (+ track days) for a comparable cost!

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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by R1DSO » Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:51 pm

I received the results back from the Mazda compression test today. Impressively, they actually sent photos of the official Mazda rotary compression tester readout for each rotor next to the engine VIN to officiate the test.

However, the numbers are lower than I would have hoped and there’s some variance on the front rotor:

At 250rpm:
Front - 6.3, 6.7, 6.4
Back - 6.4, 6.5, 6.6

Bearing in mind I’d be paying the upper end of the market price for this car, it’s annoying that the compression isn’t better. However, part of me says ‘better the devil you know’.

Whilst all the advice says to never buy an RX-8 without a compression test, most of the R3s I’ve seen for sale over the last year or so are being sold by garages or private owners that are pretty clueless about (and reluctant to do) this.

At least if I go through and buy this R3, I’m buying from a reputable garage with a Mazda dealership in their network, which could come in handy if I need to make use of the 1 year warranty.

I’m buying a rotary with the awareness that it will need a rebuild at some point in its life, and this will be a good excuse for an eventual street port! But, I’d like it to have a decent amount of engine life and power left in the car at this price.

There are very abused (or high mileage) R3s for enough of a price reduction to budget in the cost for most of an engine rebuild from the off, although the rest of the car would inevitably need more work and money also.

What do you guys think I should do? My deposit was paid on the grounds of the compression test ‘passing’ and I shared the Mazda chart in my email with the minimum 6.8 at 250rpm guide. So, I could pull out, or go through with the sale.

Or I could ask for a further reduction in price based on the test results. But, my hunch is that I have the best deal that I’m going to get out of the garage already.
Last edited by R1DSO on Sat Feb 15, 2020 1:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by Yorindesarin » Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:58 pm

Those numbers are actually amazingly good for a 50k engined R3. You'd struggle to find better. The variance on the front is miniscule and well within what they should be! Theres no huge differences across the rotor faces nor two values lower than the third. So no side seal failure, no apex seal failure and no real difference between the two rotors.

The "minimum" 6.8 is a fantasy. Just saying you're unlikely to find a car with better compression than that.
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Re: Is this a laboured start and lumpy idle???

Post by Nickp47 » Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:59 pm

These are very normal numbers for an R3 of that mileage which is likely still running a cat and not been pre-mixed.
Imo, some prospective owners get too hung up on expecting compression numbers which are matching the guidelines Mazda set over a decade ago when the cars were still new.
I would buy it still, run a decat/sports cat, refresh ignition ASAP and run it following the guidelines available on the forum, if you do this you may even see a gentle improvement in compression.

One things for sure, those compression figures will not affect the size of the smile it puts on your face when driving it!

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