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Troubleshooting My RX8 (cold-starts fine, idles, warms up and stalls))

Old 06-04-2019, 05:51 AM
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NZ Troubleshooting My RX8 (cold-starts fine, idles, warms up and stalls))

Hiya everyone,
After a long time lurking the forums and the occasional PM. Figured it was about time for me to post something.
What better post to start with than a story of "How my RX8 almost died on the motorway (then actually died when i got off at the next exit)"

So yeah, the story begins with me going home from a day out and a fairly long drive. ~20km or so...
I was on the motorway going up a hill, when I heard an unusual (and unintended) backfire. "That was odd" I thought, but paid no mind at first.
Second time it backfires, "something's definitely up, I need to check on this when i get home."
Third time, and the revs start dropping suddenly too. Then power comes back for a second or so, the revs drop again, power comes back, then drops again... and so on.
I find a place to stop on the motorway, shut everything down, and wait.
Few minutes later i fire her up again, no problems, and carry on towards home.
Everything's until the next off-ramp, the backfires come back and the revs start dropping once more.
I get off the motorway and into a side street, the RX8 dies. No more starts, I wait for a tow.

That night and following day I spend researching and talking to a few friends about what the problem could be.
Basically, it's one or more of the possible four possibilities.
Vacuum line leak, fuel pump, fuel filter or something with engine.
There's a few links and bits of info I find on each of the four, here and elsewhere on the net.
But the topic either changes or the thread updates just stop... "WHAT DID YOU ALL FIND?"
So, I'm making this thread. Will go try to catalog as much as I can when I do it.
I don't want to drop the car to the mechanic because three of the four I listed I could probably fix myself.
The engine.... i may need help with
The aim is to explore, learn and get my RX8 back on the road. (and maybe help someone else in my situation)

I drive a 2006, Type E, RX8, AT, mostly stock (i think). Got it at 80km on the clock, now (4 years later) ~124km.
Engine compression tests (roughly every year) have so far been good, never had any starting issues hot or cold.
Around the 100km mark i managed to get my hands on some BHR coils and a year-ish later the BHR mid-pipe.
That's about it, really.

Wish me luck.
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Old 06-04-2019, 10:44 AM
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Compression can hold being good, but it is possible for it to suddenly drop due to seal failure and/or detonation damage. Wouldn't hurt to compression test again just to rule that possibility before getting to far into diagnosis or repairs
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Old 06-04-2019, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Xero Ryuu View Post
Compression can hold being good, but it is possible for it to suddenly drop due to seal failure and/or detonation damage. Wouldn't hurt to compression test again just to rule that possibility before getting to far into diagnosis or repairs
A compression test is a good idea, Iíll need to get a compression tester for myself.
Wonder if thereís one on sale in NZ...
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Old 06-09-2019, 01:19 AM
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I was finally able to go through everything on the list to troubleshoot the 8 and see if I can get it going again.

Went through the list top to bottom....
  1. Checked for Vacuum line leaks - didn't find anything
  2. Cleaned the MAF sensor - didn't seem to have any effect
  3. Checked ODBII for any error codes or something when it stalls - all clean
  4. Cleaned each of the plugs - they were pretty gummy so cleaned them up too.
  5. Checked the each plug with a 'spark plug tester' - This was interesting... the leading plugs had the tester lighting up nice and bright, but the trailing ones barely glowed... is that right? any one experience that, or am i looking at a set of new coils?
  6. Checked compression (poor-man's method) - disconnected all plugs from coils, took out the leading plug and cranked it. 3 good sounding puffs in from both rotors. (i'll book myself in for a proper compression test soon)
  7. Changed the air filter (it was dirty and it was on the way )
  8. Finally, gave her a 20L can of 98 octane fuel.

The RX8 roars, back to life! and stays alive!
Me and a mate are looking at each other going... "what?" We initially suspected bad fuel was the cause.... but wrote it off because I had been driving on it since full (the tank was showing less than a 1/4 when i started having issues)
So we're standing there, going... Ok, do we dare try a test drive?
(After checking I had roadside rescue) I got in and went for nice, long a drive.
No problems, even shut it off for a bit, waited and fired her back up.

After all that, the RX8 continues running fine and we still don't know what the exact cause was...
So yeah, thanks to this forum and a couple cool folks who gave me a couple ideas the RX8 is alive and well.

Now to keep it going.... (and figure out why the trailing plugs barely lit up the plug tester)
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:48 AM
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When in doubt, replace the coils. Cheaper than engines
If you really want to narrow it down, swap the rear coils to the front and see if the faint spark travels with the coil.

Glad you got it running!
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:39 AM
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Yeah, that's very true.
I might get a set of new trailing plugs as well... could be one or the other

I am very happy to get it running again!
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:58 AM
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Don't forget about the wires. But just a simple swap front to back will tell you exactly what the culprit is
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Old 06-11-2019, 04:03 PM
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Yeah, good point about the wires.
Iíll get it all checked :D
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