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2004 mazda rx-8 w/low compression....kit vs. rebuilt already? need advice

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Old 11-18-2017, 10:08 AM
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2004 mazda rx-8 w/low compression....kit vs. rebuilt already? need advice

New to this forum and know nothing about cars! I bought my rx-8 few years back loved it but gave me problems when starting, I ended up getting a new car and we just covered the mazda unsure of what to do with it. Recently we decided to sell it and that in itself has been a nightmare (which I learned alot about the car during that process). I turned away a few potential buyers simply because they were too young and/or never even heard the term "rotary engine". I am an honest person and really, I just couldnt knowingly sell it to someone that has no clue. A few serious buyers thought my price was too high, so I lowered it ALOT. It was so low that I have now decided to fix it! lol and by that i mean rebuild the engine. So, I have 2 great and knowledgeable guys, my hubby and my son who are taking on the task. Hubby is an veteran electrician who knows all things mechanical. Although cars are not his main job, he more or less has fixed very car or truck we've owned up until about 5/6 ago because of tow reasons, naturally they have become more complicated and secondly, we have been able to financially afford a few fixes here and there (thankfully). My son knows his stuff as well, it seems he has dedicated his life to this feild and it will certainly be his future as far as a career. He's 21, took a few courses in automotive but school just wasn't for him, unfortunately. He just finished rebuilding his own engine on his BMW and converted it from automatic to manual, car runs great, I was impressed! In any case, I need to be somewhat involved in this project even though I trust both of them. Call what u want, the controlling wife and mom or just a chick with a plan B and/or back up plan, lol! Thing is they will certainly run into problems along the way and both these things will occur at some point: they will debate one another AND they will be typical guys and not ask for help, similar to never looking at directions when putting something together, so thats where I come in! I need to know I got somewhere to go and ask questions and/or just do some research! anyway the first big decision is:

Do we go with the kit (new rings, seals, springs etc)
or
Do we buy an already actual rebuilt done already engine?

from the little reseach ive done so far, the price difference is approximately anywhere from 400-800.

one more question (and please remember, I have no mechanical knowledge) how/when can it be officially said a rebuild engine has once again 0 miles? or is that even ever possible? I am thinking about the future here as far as this car. Its possible I may sell it once fixed so do either of the two options (kit or already rebuilt) make it possible to restart engine mileage?

well thats all for now, Im sure there will be much more to come.

Thanks
Renee


forgot to ask....... any recommendations on where or who to buy from? Im in NY

Last edited by Reggiesmom; 11-18-2017 at 10:10 AM. Reason: forgot to ask
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Old 11-18-2017, 10:21 AM
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Is the goal of the rebuild to get the car running or to have a project and learn some stuff?

If it's the first, buy a rebuilt engine from RotaryResurrection, Pineapple Racing, Pettit Racing or others.

If it's the second, the rebuild kits are one thing, but you may discover that big parts like housings need to be replaced, which can increases your cost significantly.

But before any of that, what sort of issues did it have when it last ran? You may have issues unrelated to the engine core itself that need to be fixed so the new engine doesn't suffer the same fate. Do you now what the compression numbers actually are?

It's not an automatic is it? Those engines are rarer/more expensive.
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Reggiesmom View Post

Do we go with the kit (new rings, seals, springs etc)
or
Do we buy an already actual rebuilt done already engine?

from the little reseach ive done so far, the price difference is approximately anywhere from 400-800.

one more question (and please remember, I have no mechanical knowledge) how/when can it be officially said a rebuild engine has once again 0 miles? or is that even ever possible? I am thinking about the future here as far as this car. Its possible I may sell it once fixed so do either of the two options (kit or already rebuilt) make it possible to restart engine mileage?

well thats all for now, Im sure there will be much more to come.

Thanks
Renee


forgot to ask....... any recommendations on where or who to buy from? Im in NY
Welcome aboard. First things first, what is year of the car and is it manual or automatic? You said you bought it a few years back, did it buy it new or used? Are you the original owner? Did you ever get the problems from a few years ago diagnosed? It could be loss of compression, but it could also be bad ignition components / weak battery.

If you havent already, give the car a complete tune up: ignition coils, spark plugs, wires, oil and air filter. This can be had for four hundred dollars online from Mazmart. They are a well known RX8 supplier and forum sponsor.

MAZMART - Serving The Mazda Community Since 1980 | New & Used Mazda Parts | Mazda Performance & Racing parts | Mazda Performance Upgrades. RX8 RX-8 Tune Up Kit air filter oil filter coils plugs wires OEM NGK spark plugs

Ignition components are a wear item on these cars, and they are only good for 2 or 3 years, 20 or 30 thousand miles. Once that is finished, see if the car still has trouble starting. If you still have problems, go here:

https://www.rx8club.com/series-i-tro...t-here-222584/

If after all that and it still doesnt start, you might need a new engine. Rebuilding a rotary engine is not like rebuilding a piston engine, there are a lot of nuances and a lot more wear surfaces. If you decide to do it yourself, be prepared to do it two or three more times until you get it right. The tolerances are very fine A Mazda dealer will sell you a remanufactured engine for about four thousand dollars. Rotary Resurrection will rebuild your engine for less and users have had good results with them.

To answer your question, a true 0 mile engine must be built from scratch and would cost between 7 and 10 thousand dollars. Mazda remanufactured engines will re use parts if they are within spec, as will most other engine rebuild services. Most people just note "engine replaced at XXX,YYYY miles" in their sale posting. It is expected with these cars (and rotary engines in general) to replace the engine.

Best of luck!
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Old 11-19-2017, 12:48 AM
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2004 rx8

Originally Posted by Loki View Post
Is the goal of the rebuild to get the car running or to have a project and learn some stuff?

If it's the first, buy a rebuilt engine from RotaryResurrection, Pineapple Racing, Pettit Racing or others.

If it's the second, the rebuild kits are one thing, but you may discover that big parts like housings need to be replaced, which can increases your cost significantly.

But before any of that, what sort of issues did it have when it last ran? You may have issues unrelated to the engine core itself that need to be fixed so the new engine doesn't suffer the same fate. Do you now what the compression numbers actually are?

It's not an automatic is it? Those engines are rarer/more expensive.
hey, thanks for the interest! Honestly, both reasons but, mostly to get my car running! naturally my son will most certainly learn alot from this project considering rotary engines arent an every day thing. So u def make sense as far as the new engine suffering from an old issue. that is one of the reasons why we are leaning toward buying it already rebuilt. Heres the car current status. It does actually run, pretty good actually. It simply will not start when warm/hot. In other words forst time u start it (when its cold) it starts after that, nothing! Im certain compression is low, its literally the one thing everyone has said about the car. And I do have a document from a locl mechcanic who noted that as well, however he was not specific, nor did he give me actual numbers. In all fairness I brought my car to him because i was so annoyed at all the "guessing" and opinions that I decided to take it to him. Of course, I did not want to spend to much $ on a diagnostic so he probabaly cut corners hence, no actual compression number. and yes it is an automatic.......which stirs up another possibility..... I would love to convert it to manual! I know it may be a pain in the a $$ but my thinking is....geeez your taking it apart anyway! not to mention (again) my son converted his BMW but they (hubs and son) both seem to be against this. It does seem as if manual is what buyers of these cars are looking for, I mean ive had many people decide not to bother coming to see the car because its an automatic. thats a whole other story though lol. Anyway i am new to this site so not sure how to upload a pic, I want to post the mechanics report. So again any info is greatly appreciated, Im gonna go try and figure out how to post this pic!
thanks
Renee
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Old 11-19-2017, 12:58 AM
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Originally Posted by loki View Post
is the goal of the rebuild to get the car running or to have a project and learn some stuff?

If it's the first, buy a rebuilt engine from rotaryresurrection, pineapple racing, pettit racing or others.

If it's the second, the rebuild kits are one thing, but you may discover that big parts like housings need to be replaced, which can increases your cost significantly.

But before any of that, what sort of issues did it have when it last ran? You may have issues unrelated to the engine core itself that need to be fixed so the new engine doesn't suffer the same fate. Do you now what the compression numbers actually are?

It's not an automatic is it? Those engines are rarer/more expensive.

2004 mazda rx-8 w/low compression....kit vs. rebuilt already? need advice-img_1868-1-.jpg
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Old 11-19-2017, 01:38 AM
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hey

Originally Posted by BigBadChris View Post
Welcome aboard. First things first, what is year of the car and is it manual or automatic? You said you bought it a few years back, did it buy it new or used? Are you the original owner? Did you ever get the problems from a few years ago diagnosed? It could be loss of compression, but it could also be bad ignition components / weak battery.

If you havent already, give the car a complete tune up: ignition coils, spark plugs, wires, oil and air filter. This can be had for four hundred dollars online from Mazmart. They are a well known RX8 supplier and forum sponsor.

MAZMART - Serving The Mazda Community Since 1980 New & Used Mazda Parts Mazda Performance & Racing parts Mazda Performance Upgrades. RX8 RX-8 Tune Up Kit air filter oil filter coils plugs wires OEM NGK spark plugs

Ignition components are a wear item on these cars, and they are only good for 2 or 3 years, 20 or 30 thousand miles. Once that is finished, see if the car still has trouble starting. If you still have problems, go here:

https://www.rx8club.com/series-i-tro...t-here-222584/

If after all that and it still doesnt start, you might need a new engine. Rebuilding a rotary engine is not like rebuilding a piston engine, there are a lot of nuances and a lot more wear surfaces. If you decide to do it yourself, be prepared to do it two or three more times until you get it right. The tolerances are very fine A Mazda dealer will sell you a remanufactured engine for about four thousand dollars. Rotary Resurrection will rebuild your engine for less and users have had good results with them.

To answer your question, a true 0 mile engine must be built from scratch and would cost between 7 and 10 thousand dollars. Mazda remanufactured engines will re use parts if they are within spec, as will most other engine rebuild services. Most people just note "engine replaced at XXX,YYYY miles" in their sale posting. It is expected with these cars (and rotary engines in general) to replace the engine.

Best of luck!
hey hey hey! thanks so much for the reply and I knew this would be the best place to get some good info on great sites to buy stuff! so its a 2004 automatic. I bought it in 2012 from a good friend of mine. He and her son are fanatics and did lots of custom things, all are noted either under the hood or in the doors (but, honestly, I have never actually looked at them). The situation was, she was in a bad place financially (needed $ to move) and I had a Nissan Armada with a hefty monthly payment and newly single. My kids began driving and had there own cars so I needed a much smaller car. I literally had no idea I was buying such a special car! I realized it when I began driving it and literally got comments everyday! (pretty cool huh lol) in any case, at the time, my friend was very cautious in selling me the car. She did explain it had a rotary engine YADDA YADDA, i probably wasnt listening but just knew I trusted her. Her description of a minor problem (at that time) was "im not sure why but car starts fine first time however when u shut it off, it wont start again for about 5 minutes". I thought, I can deal with that. and I did. as a matter of fact about two weeks into having the car and and only 3/4 occasions of the 5 minute waiting time being an issue, I soon discovered that if I used the auto start button it would start right back up NOT having to wait 5 minutes. Therefore for the remainder of the time I drove the car, which was about a year, I never waited to start it! Soon after Hubs and I reunited and he gave me his VW Passat and I put my "mid life crisis mazda" under a car cover and in my sideyard driveway. I was saving it perhaps for my 3 kiddo who would soon be driving. It sat for a year, she decided she didnt want it and I actually temporarily needed a car at one point so I put it back on the road for about 3 months. This time the starting issue was worse, it took longer to start and my quick fix auto start solution no longer worked. So back to yard.

I apologize I kinda got off track with my history so back to your inquires. YES def low compression. all that are involved say that as well as a mechcanic (ill post his report). We've only recently replaced spark plugs, oil and air filters.

Since we've read both your response and the other, so good questions have arose. For instance, when buying a already rebuilt motor, do they all include the same items? in othe words, should i attempt these small fixes and/or experiments first before even thinking of buying a rebuilt? Meaning, will all of the small fixes be part of the rebuilt engine so am I buying things twice.?

one last thing and plz lemme remind u I know nothing about cars but my common sense has just always played role in my own theory of a potential problem. The autostart is aftermarket and played a key role in successfully helping start the car at one point. I have always told my husband to disconnect it completely from the car just out of curiosity to see if it helps. My requests have been ignored! But, most likely cause its a fact the car has low compression. just a random thought.

now, should i find out the actually compression numbers? how important can that be at this point?
finally the big question.......Low Compression....... what are the facts? can low compression be cause by different things?
an even bigger question........If a car has low compression, do you just throw in the towel and say "the car needs a new engine!" (cause that has been the case with my son). no in betweens mom, no small fixes mom, this car needs a new engine mom! I love that kid but sometimes I just wanna smack him! lol

thanks again so much for info and interest, much appreciated.
Renee



2004 mazda rx-8 w/low compression....kit vs. rebuilt already? need advice-img_1868-1-.jpg
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Old 11-19-2017, 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Reggiesmom View Post
now, should i find out the actually compression numbers? how important can that be at this point?
finally the big question.......Low Compression....... what are the facts? can low compression be cause by different things?
an even bigger question........If a car has low compression, do you just throw in the towel and say "the car needs a new engine!" (cause that has been the case with my son). no in betweens mom, no small fixes mom, this car needs a new engine mom! I love that kid but sometimes I just wanna smack him! lol

thanks again so much for info and interest, much appreciated.
Renee



Attachment 282104
It would help to see the engine compression numbers, just so we are clear what we are looking at here.

Slow starts and quick engine wear can be caused by a lot of things. 04 has very crappy starters, for instance, and a common upgrade here is upgrading to the 06 and later starter that's more powerful. Ignition coils are also known to have failures on our cars; you either buy OEM coils and replace them at a certain interval, or you buy an upgrade kit like BHR ignition coils and never worry about it ever again. Also, remember, this car needs to be driven hard at least once in a while(don't be afraid of the redline!), but make sure the car is fully up to operating temperature before you gun it.

And yes, if it has low compression, the engine will have to come out. Some solutions may delay the inevitable, but ultimately it will have to be replaced.

This is something you want to think about, though: as mentioned, the engine inside this particular car is more expensive to rebuild, despite being an inferior version. Rebuilding a rotary in the backyard doesn't seem to end well for the most part.

The reason you have trouble selling the car is because no informed buyer will want a 04/05 RX-8 AT; it's considered the least desirable version(sorry if I am being harsh). I personally think the 04/05 AT is only good as shells for very major engine swaps. So even if you put in a new engine, you will most likely still be stuck with it.

You can do an AT to MT swap, but it's usually a better value to buy a MT RX-8 since they are pretty cheap to start with. If you want a project, then by all means go ahead.

Last edited by UnknownJinX; 11-19-2017 at 03:49 AM.
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Old 11-19-2017, 04:56 AM
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no way not at all harsh, honestly, i am learning alot even if the info may seem negative, its cool, really. But, I gotta say at this point in time I am looking forward to once its fixed, being my car again. I know I mentioned somewhere or asked a Q for future possible sale however, at this moment in time this project is solely for me to eventually enjoy. It was definitely the strangest experience trying to sell it. While what your saying about the ones that really know, will pass on it because newer models are better, I actually turned down 4/5 potential buyers because I was afraid they didnt know what they were getting into. I learned all this during that time. Anyway I am not too concerned with being stuck with it, I have a rather large family (4kids) not that this particular car is for kids but perhaps when they are older they may appreciate it more. My oldest son is def interested in the rebuilding process but certainly once he achieves it, even he may have more interest in the car itself (he's current passion is BMW). anyway, I do appreciate any input good or bad, the truth is wheres it at!
thanks
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Old 11-19-2017, 04:59 AM
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I forgot to ask, about getting this compression test done..... how? where? who? lol and i
not sure how much it cost but if we already know we are rebuilding u really think its important to know considering the rebuild?
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Old 11-19-2017, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Reggiesmom View Post
Yeah so based on that a couple of things that are not the engine need replacing: catalytic converter, ignition coils. In fact usually bad ignition coils kill engines in this fashion. Running rich is the giveaway. Not sure what is up with the airbags, it's uncommon for that light to be on. This could all get expensive.

I'd recommend cutting your losses on this one and finding a manual RX8 in good shape and rebuilding that. Converting to manual while possible is a bigger project than replacing the engine.
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Old 11-19-2017, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Reggiesmom View Post
I forgot to ask, about getting this compression test done..... how? where? who? lol and i
not sure how much it cost but if we already know we are rebuilding u really think its important to know considering the rebuild?
Any Mazda dealer can do it and it will cost around a hundred dollars. Unfortunately it sounds like you'll need a tow to get there.
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Old 11-19-2017, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Reggiesmom View Post
Since we've read both your response and the other, so good questions have arose. For instance, when buying a already rebuilt motor, do they all include the same items? in othe words, should i attempt these small fixes and/or experiments first before even thinking of buying a rebuilt? Meaning, will all of the small fixes be part of the rebuilt engine so am I buying things twice.?

one last thing and plz lemme remind u I know nothing about cars but my common sense has just always played role in my own theory of a potential problem. The autostart is aftermarket and played a key role in successfully helping start the car at one point. I have always told my husband to disconnect it completely from the car just out of curiosity to see if it helps. My requests have been ignored! But, most likely cause its a fact the car has low compression. just a random thought.

now, should i find out the actually compression numbers? how important can that be at this point?
finally the big question.......Low Compression....... what are the facts? can low compression be cause by different things?
an even bigger question........If a car has low compression, do you just throw in the towel and say "the car needs a new engine!" (cause that has been the case with my son). no in betweens mom, no small fixes mom, this car needs a new engine mom! I love that kid but sometimes I just wanna smack him! lol

thanks again so much for info and interest, much appreciated.
Renee



Attachment 282104
Ok. To answer your question yes do these small fixes. A rebuilt motor will include just that, the motor. They'll strip the accessories off, so replacing what's not known to be good is a good idea. Plus these new components will make your new engine (if you go that way) last longer.

Generally speaking yes, if an engine has low compression it needs to be removed and replaced. Some things (water injection, seafoam, a new starter) could make it last longer, but not reverse the problem.
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Old 11-19-2017, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by BigBadChris View Post
Any Mazda dealer can do it and it will cost around a hundred dollars. Unfortunately it sounds like you'll need a tow to get there.
I think it's more like $150~200.

There are also the rotary shops that will do it for cheaper(I think), or a fellow member around you that can help you out.

Just a note: AT to MT conversion on modern cars is nothing but headaches, and there is a good reason that people general smack that idea dead when it's mentioned. Don't assume this will be as easy as an old BMW(new BMW cars are very, very electronically complicated). A lot of time, patience, and money will be required.

Again, it's better to sell this as a shell to someone looking for a major engine swap and buy a MT RX-8.
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Old 11-19-2017, 12:10 PM
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Having completed a 4 port AT to 6 port MT swap, I only having one thing to say on the matter: don't even think about it.
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Old 11-19-2017, 12:12 PM
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UnknownJinX is right, you do not really want any 2004 AT RX8, they had the lowest hp and the most problems of all RX8s. A swap to a manual involves far more than just the engine. You would do better getting it running right (ignition etc.) and selling it.

BTW there are a few recalls for 2004 RX8s. Go to Mazda site, plug in your vin number and see the recalls. Your car is entitled to all recalls, free of charge at any Mazda dealer.

https://www.mazdarecallinfo.com/Hile...hoCTZ8QAvD_BwE


However, if you decide to keep it, then I would recommend you get an experienced rebuilder to do the work. Too many DOA engines have been turned out by first time do-it-yourself rotary engine rebuilders. They are not like rebuilding any piston engine.

If I was you, I would get some quotes from these reputable rotary rebuilders and see if they would even rebuild an AT engine, and at what costs. (cost will vary depending on if any of your engine's parts are reusable or not. That could only be determined on teardown. )

http://jprimports.com/
http://black-halo-racing.myshopify.com/
RX-7 & RX-8 Performance (Pettit Racing)
Pineapple Racing
Racing Beat - Mazda Performance Specialists
http://rotaryperformance.com/
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Rotary-specific compression test numbers are critical to knowing the true condition of your engine. Top condition of all of your ignition components: starter, battery, coils, wires, plugs , a healthy cat and fuel pump are critical to your rotary engine's proper performance and health.

Last edited by gwilliams6; 11-21-2017 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 11-20-2017, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by gwilliams6 View Post
You would do better getting it running right (ignition etc.) and selling it.
Even then it will be hard... Especially given that OP is not the "screw the next guy" sorta person.

This is from rx8help.com:

So having an Automatic transmission and not having any of these packages left you with what we have termed the "Base Automatic". These are actually rare, since even many of the lower trim automatics were ordered with the Sport Suspension as well, even if not with Touring or Grand Touring packages. The Base Automatic was most remarkably different in that it was a combination of missing so many things that made the RX-8 good. It was missing the higher RPM redline, missing the better suspension, missing the better brakes, missing the carbon fiber driveshaft, and it's 16" wheels make it look a bit out of proportion with more wheel gap than even the stock 18s. For the 2004s and 2005s, it also had the lowest power engine that costs the most to replace and is the most prone to failure from carbon caking, as well as the fewest transmission gear count. It can't really even be referred to as more focused on touring, since it was missing nearly all the driver comfort features too, like leather, heated seats, premium audio, moonroof, etc... Largely, it's recommended to avoid these, since they are likely priced the same as RX-8s with the more desired features, but you get so much less for your money up front, and run a greater risk of repairs, repairs that cost more. The cost of converting a Base Automatic to even a Sport Automatic would be more than the purchase price of the car at this point.
Wasn't the 4-port engine bad with AT because it keeps the RPM way too low? If so, then it's really a semi-auto if you want it to last by keeping the RPM higher with the paddle shifters. From what I have read, the AT itself is also prone to overheat when raced.

I mean, if you plan on keeping it, then fix it, but if you really want to sell it, I personally wouldn't bother to repair the engine unless someone says they really want it. Sell it to a guy/gal doing a REW, 20B or LS swap - they won't be using the engine and transmission anyway.
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Old 11-20-2017, 10:19 AM
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Old 11-21-2017, 07:47 AM
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Thanks BigCajun for this expanded list of rebuilders !
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