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Old 02-03-2018, 08:19 PM   #1
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S2 weak starts

So this just started happening a couple of days ago. I noticed that my car starter sounds a bit weak and it takes a little longer than normal to crank my car.

See the videos for details:


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Tested the battery at an auto electric shop with a load tester and the battery is good.

No apparent drivability issues, so I doubt it's the fuel pump or the ignition components. I can check them next weekend to make sure.

Cleaned the MAF yesterday as well. No changes.

So are there anything else I didn't account for? Could it be the starter itself? I thought about the start relay. How can you test it?
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Old 02-04-2018, 12:20 AM   #2
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Battery terminals?
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Old 02-04-2018, 01:30 AM   #3
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Seems like you’ve been around here long enough to know that the OE terminals are the usual weak point. If you think those are fine then it either has to be the battery or depending on how old it is or mileage it has then the brushes in the starter might need replacing. Seen plenty of batteries deemed good, but on a rotary it needs to pretty much be in tip top shape. Put it on the charger and make sure it’s topped up fully if you have one. If that all checks out then maybe the starter brushes are next.
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Old 02-04-2018, 02:08 AM   #4
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Battery terminals?
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Seems like you’ve been around here long enough to know that the OE terminals are the usual weak point. If you think those are fine then it either has to be the battery or depending on how old it is or mileage it has then the brushes in the starter might need replacing. Seen plenty of batteries deemed good, but on a rotary it needs to pretty much be in tip top shape. Put it on the charger and make sure it’s topped up fully if you have one. If that all checks out then maybe the starter brushes are next.
Didn't know terminals are common weak points, but they are fine, as my other electric components work very well even with the engine off.

I tried charging the battery when this problem first started occurring. I put the battery charger on tonight and see if anything improves. The battery was bought last summer.

Starters are pretty expensive. Local dealer quoted me CAN$650. Not sure if there are local shops that rebuild them.
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Old 02-04-2018, 02:12 AM   #5
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That doesn’t mean anything. The general amp load of everything else is small compared to the starter. That’s why it’s on it’s own wiring circuit direct to the battery. The OE battery terminals are weak, flimsy junk.
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Old 02-04-2018, 06:52 PM   #6
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Charged for a whole night and the start is still weak.

I will try to look up stuff related to the battery terminals.

Is there any way to check them? I'd assume a visual inspection is not good enough.

Another thing I tried to do is cranking with the gas pedal in all the way. The starter sounds very normal when I try to crank the engine without starting it.
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Old 02-04-2018, 07:18 PM   #7
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For the terminals, start with a good cleaning. There are special brushes for this, but you can use a bit of sandpaper. Just run it around the interior surface of each terminal so they're a bright fresh copper colour, as opposed to the oxidized colour they probably have now. Don't go too agressive, you just want to freshen the surface, not remove material.

Do the same for the battery posts. I hope this doesn't need to be said, but don't grab both battery terminals at the same time or you will die.

Next once they're all clean, snug the terminals on the battery post and check if you're able to turn the terminal around the post. If you are, the terminals have stretched and are no forming a good contact with the battery. You can keep snugging them tighter and tighter, or just replace. Overtightening them will stretch them further.


Aside from that, if you have an OBD reader, crank as you're doing with the gas pedal all the way down and see what rpm it's actually turning at. If it's normal then start looking eliminating fuel, spark and compression as possible causes.

All things considered, that startup doesn't sound terrible.
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Old 02-05-2018, 12:25 AM   #8
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For the terminals, start with a good cleaning. There are special brushes for this, but you can use a bit of sandpaper. Just run it around the interior surface of each terminal so they're a bright fresh copper colour, as opposed to the oxidized colour they probably have now. Don't go too agressive, you just want to freshen the surface, not remove material.

Do the same for the battery posts. I hope this doesn't need to be said, but don't grab both battery terminals at the same time or you will die.

Next once they're all clean, snug the terminals on the battery post and check if you're able to turn the terminal around the post. If you are, the terminals have stretched and are no forming a good contact with the battery. You can keep snugging them tighter and tighter, or just replace. Overtightening them will stretch them further.


Aside from that, if you have an OBD reader, crank as you're doing with the gas pedal all the way down and see what rpm it's actually turning at. If it's normal then start looking eliminating fuel, spark and compression as possible causes.

All things considered, that startup doesn't sound terrible.
Yeah, I already cleaned up the battery terminals and posts.

Also, I have them on very tight. I actually had the 8 die on me on an unlit road last summer. Scared the crap out of my friends riding with me. Turns out, one of the terminals were loose. I put it back on, drove carefully back home, and tightened it with a wrench. From that point, I always double check the terminals.

I will record the cranking RPM and see if anything's wrong. I will have to wait until next weekend to test the fuel and spark, as I will have a week-long break to do some troubleshooting.

Update: Just recorded the cranking RPM via OBD2. It's around 290~305 RPM, which is what an S2 starter is supposed to spin at.

Last edited by UnknownJinX; 02-05-2018 at 02:17 AM.
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Old 02-05-2018, 07:33 AM   #9
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I also add dielectric grease to all contact points: grounds, battery connections, etc that are exposed to the elements. Once the terminals are shiny clean, I've never had the battery connections foul from a leaking or from corrosion. That dielectric grease (even from the small 1 oz tube) doesn't oxidize that fast but does allow a large current to flow through it thanks to the fumed silica that's added.
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Old 02-07-2018, 12:07 AM   #10
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Got to agree with Team.

Even though you said Battery was tested, how old is it.

Believe me or not I am still on my original S2 (Larger than S1), Panasonic Battery coming up to 10 years old and she still cranks as fast or faster than my NC MX-5 (it's battery is almost half the size of my S2).
I run a deep conditioning of Battery every 3 years (said to clean off deposits from lead plates??) and always keep fluid topped off.
IMO Battery issues are owners not maintaining their 12V Battery, every time I went to a customers car before service the Battery Plates closest to the hot engine (end 2 0r 3) were always much lower and even below the lead plates.

To me yours still says Battery and or Clamps, but we have heard much worse. (slower).
I don't think it is that bad.
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Old 02-07-2018, 01:57 AM   #11
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Got to agree with Team.

Even though you said Battery was tested, how old is it.

Believe me or not I am still on my original S2 (Larger than S1), Panasonic Battery coming up to 10 years old and she still cranks as fast or faster than my NC MX-5 (it's battery is almost half the size of my S2).
I run a deep conditioning of Battery every 3 years (said to clean off deposits from lead plates??) and always keep fluid topped off.
IMO Battery issues are owners not maintaining their 12V Battery, every time I went to a customers car before service the Battery Plates closest to the hot engine (end 2 0r 3) were always much lower and even below the lead plates.

To me yours still says Battery and or Clamps, but we have heard much worse. (slower).
I don't think it is that bad.
Well, it's an AGM battery I bought from Canadian Tire last summer.

Pretty sure there is actually no fluid for me to top off in my case - the acid is contained within the glass fiber mat.

I do make sure to charge my battery once in a while. Just charged it a couple of days ago as well.

I agree it's not that slow, but it's just different from what I am used to and that's what concerns me.

Like mentioned, I tried cranking with the gas pedal pressed and read the cranking RPM. It's pretty normal at 300ish RPM.
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Old 02-07-2018, 07:34 AM   #12
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The OEM Panasonic batteries in many cars are simply - AMAZING. I'm surprised they haven't tried to sell them to the general public.

The Interstate battery at Costco (USA) looks and smells the same as the Mazda OEM and is fairly priced.

Best deal on Group 35 battery is the Costco battery - even looks identical to the Mazda OEM I replaced. See more at:

https://www.rx8club.com/series-i-tec...stions-264356/

https://www.rx8club.com/series-i-tec...-186805/page2/
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Old 02-07-2018, 10:57 AM   #13
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The OEM Panasonic batteries in many cars are simply - AMAZING. I'm surprised they haven't tried to sell them to the general public.

The Interstate battery at Costco (USA) looks and smells the same as the Mazda OEM and is fairly priced.

Best deal on Group 35 battery is the Costco battery - even looks identical to the Mazda OEM I replaced. See more at:

https://www.rx8club.com/series-i-tec...stions-264356/

https://www.rx8club.com/series-i-tec...-186805/page2/
I never go to Costco because they need a membership card and I don't have one, and it's not worth it for me to have one since I shop for my own stuff. Some people I know have one because their parents have memberships, but I never go shopping with them. I don't know one of them too well and the other guy I know well currently is living somewhere else.

Thanks for the tip, though. If the one I have craps out on me, then I will pick up a OEM one.
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Old 02-12-2018, 02:44 PM   #14
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So I did a couple of things over the weekend:

-Put the OEM revision C coils back in after some reading and research.

-Clean up the ESS properly by pulling it out fully. S2 has a cylindrical shield around the ESS unlike S1, which was more exposed.

-Readjusted the alternator/water pump and AC belts. They weren't loose, but there was a bolt that I needed to get out and that needed me to remove the belts, so I just readjusted them with a gauge when I put them back on.

Now the cranking is perfectly normal and doesn't have that whining noise in the end. My fuel consumption also went down a bit. Hmmm... Any thoughts? Could it be my batch of coils acting up?
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Old 02-12-2018, 03:24 PM   #15
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I don't know about the BHR kit specifically but I've read reports from some people regarding slightly longer cranking times with other D585 coils using the factory coil dwell settings. Most report the problem goes away when they increase the dwell setting.

Fuel economy comparisons have to be done one of three ways:
1) With a metric crapton of data with which to perform a statistical analysis.
2) In perfect laboratory environment with all variables controlled.
3) 1 and 2.

Simply comparing a couple of tanks of gas from before and after isn't good enough because any number of things can affect fuel economy. You have control of very few of these and are aware of even fewer.
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Old 02-12-2018, 03:31 PM   #16
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But like your starting speed is not *slow*. It might be slower than what you're used to, but it's still firing up in 1 second or less hot or cold. What are you comparing to?
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Old 02-12-2018, 04:33 PM   #17
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I don't know about the BHR kit specifically but I've read reports from some people regarding slightly longer cranking times with other D585 coils using the factory coil dwell settings. Most report the problem goes away when they increase the dwell setting.

Fuel economy comparisons have to be done one of three ways:
1) With a metric crapton of data with which to perform a statistical analysis.
2) In perfect laboratory environment with all variables controlled.
3) 1 and 2.

Simply comparing a couple of tanks of gas from before and after isn't good enough because any number of things can affect fuel economy. You have control of very few of these and are aware of even fewer.
Sounds like your work in R&D.
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Old 02-12-2018, 04:37 PM   #18
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Sounds like your work in R&D.
Does it show?
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Old 02-12-2018, 04:59 PM   #19
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I don't know about the BHR kit specifically but I've read reports from some people regarding slightly longer cranking times with other D585 coils using the factory coil dwell settings. Most report the problem goes away when they increase the dwell setting.

Fuel economy comparisons have to be done one of three ways:
1) With a metric crapton of data with which to perform a statistical analysis.
2) In perfect laboratory environment with all variables controlled.
3) 1 and 2.

Simply comparing a couple of tanks of gas from before and after isn't good enough because any number of things can affect fuel economy. You have control of very few of these and are aware of even fewer.
As of now, I have no plans for tuning, so I will use OEM coils for now and replace them when necessary. S2 tuning options still seem limited.

I agree it's too early for conclusions. Too many variables as well, as I cleaned up the ESS more carefully.

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But like your starting speed is not *slow*. It might be slower than what you're used to, but it's still firing up in 1 second or less hot or cold. What are you comparing to?
Here is the cold start I have now:


While it was not slow slow, the problem was that it would make some whining noise towards the end. Kinda hard to hear in the videos, but I can definitely hear the whining in the car, and it doesn't sound very healthy...

Last edited by UnknownJinX; 02-12-2018 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:56 PM   #20
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My S2 had similar issues when I had a weak battery (still had the OEM last year) and a bad coil. Now that is back to normal starts within a second of cranking. Fuel mileage will suffer after resetting the ECU as it has to relearn all over, and from what I seen, it runs a bit rich for about a full tank or 2.
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:34 PM   #21
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"U need a new engine, change everything while we're at it"

-My local mazda dealer.

Hahaaa. not sure if it's the same case, the other day, my car was starting slow, so i charged the battery overnight, charger indicates that it's fully charged/healthy but alas, getting weak starts, dont believe what the charger tells u, it's probably a cell has gone bad in the battery. i changed to new battery, boom car starts in milliseconds.
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:40 PM   #22
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My S2 had similar issues when I had a weak battery (still had the OEM last year) and a bad coil. Now that is back to normal starts within a second of cranking. Fuel mileage will suffer after resetting the ECU as it has to relearn all over, and from what I seen, it runs a bit rich for about a full tank or 2.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Okki-Jakarta View Post
"U need a new engine, change everything while we're at it"

-My local mazda dealer.

Hahaaa. not sure if it's the same case, the other day, my car was starting slow, so i charged the battery overnight, charger indicates that it's fully charged/healthy but alas, getting weak starts, dont believe what the charger tells u, it's probably a cell has gone bad in the battery. i changed to new battery, boom car starts in milliseconds.
Yeah, the battery would be the first thing to suspect, but I am not willing to toss away a $200+ battery(AGM ones are pricey; wet lead-acid is only $120ish) if I checked it thoroughly and it's not bad. A load test should be enough to tell you if the battery is bad.

In my case, my guess is that something is going on with my set of BHR coils. Hard to pinpoint the exact issue, though. Like said, I cleaned up ESS more carefully this time by taking it out and I also readjusted the belts, so they may also have a role in this.
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Old 02-14-2018, 02:35 PM   #23
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In my case, my guess is that something is going on with my set of BHR coils.
This
Amazon Amazon
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Old 02-14-2018, 09:28 PM   #24
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I actually have one, but I didn't bother checking my set of BHR, since there is no misfiring happening.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:05 AM   #25
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First mistake, replace parts without testing/troubleshooting if you have the equipment. I can understand replacing it if did not have one on hand, but testing them would have only taken a few minutes. Also, if one/more coils were bad, Charles would have replaced them.
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