RX-8 P1by Scott G
This blog will be an ongoing overview of our in house RX-8 shop car. We use this car to develop and initially test our products and ideas long before they ever reach the marketplace. This also allows us to experience the real world daily driven performance of our products and how they interact with the platform.
We started with a 2005 base model RX-8. No sunroof, cloth seats, no appearance package and really none of the upper model upgrades. The previous owner was in sales and managed to rack up 160,290 miles on the chassis, original engine and running gear. Its lived in Florida it's whole life and even with this many miles it's quite apparent, the RX-8 holds up really rather well!
When we acquired it, the car had been sitting for awhile and had been diagnosed with a bad engine by the local dealer. We managed to get it running (it was a struggle) and drove it about 75 miles home and found that it wouldn't start hot....at all. We got it to the shop and installed one of our high speed starters then tuned it up with one of our ignition kits and the hot starting issues were gone! Fired right up hot or cold, had good power, a smooth idle and cold a/c!
Here in Florida it's hot, perhaps not as hot as some states out west, but hot nonetheless. It's pretty common to see engine temps above 210f here and for a rotary this is not far from the kiss of death. For an added measure of safety we took 15 minutes and installed our cooling fan control kit and even with the stock radiator we saw the engine temps drop to 180-185f. Improved throttle response, quicker hot starts and even providing slightly cooler a/c as a side effect.
We performed an engine compression test and the results were just below the test's minimum numbers. However, the combination of the high speed starter, a properly functioning ignition system and the reduced operating temps made the car perfectly drivable again!
Since it ran well, Scott (the owner) decided to drive it for another few months while installing some of our modifications to improve driver feed back and make it an overall more fun car to drive.
Let the modding begin!
Going into this project we knew this RX-8 was going to be a driver....it was not going an to be an internet garage queen. We wanted to not only showcase our unique product offerings but put together a package that could be used for a variety of uses. Weather this was being run hard on the road course at track days, taking it to the drag strip for 1/4 mile passes or a day autocrossing it for a tasty combination of all these things.
To achieve this goal, the key was choosing components from our own product line, developing unique new products and carefully choosing parts from other suppliers that we simply don't intend to manufacturer. With this said, it was paramount that this car would also need to be a street car. Cold a/c, a smooth idle, stereo and the nice interior that is, the Mazda RX-8.
We decided to start with some of our most popular performance parts that would improve the driving experience now, as well as meet the demands as the power levels increased and the handling modifications are implemented.
The motor mounts were pretty worn and sloppy so we opted to change them to our RX8Performance stainless steel mounts. These provide a noticeable change in feedback to the driver by reducing shifter movement and drivetrain rotation under load. They also make the car feel more predictable accelerating off the corners and because the slop in the drivetrain is reduced, they actually do make it quicker off the corner! The really nice part is, their robust enough for competition events yet docile enough so they can be used in daily driving situations. We have been selling and installing these for about 4 years now and have very positive feedback from our customers! We also offer them in aluminum here.
At this point we knew the spirited driving was going to increase in frequency and since the RX-8 gear box is not known for being overly robust, we opted to install our SyncroSaver. This is designed to eliminate over shifting and damaging the 6-speeds syncro's. Its a very straightforward install and when adjusted properly it makes a very slight tick sound when your really shifting at the limits which customers seem to find, well just plain cool.
We had a used Axial flow short shifter on the shelf so we stuck it in as well. It's a nice piece for sure and with the shifters newly increased leverage points the added piece of mind of the Syncosaver just made sense and it's very inexpensive as well.
Of course with this many miles on the chassis and countless numbers of journeyman type road trips by the previous owner the undertray was beat up. Tears in the plastic, holes punched through in a couple of spots and of course, hanging off the car around the edges. In fairness, the OE undertray is made of plastic so how tough can it really be? It is however a crucial component in directing airflow through the radiator to cool the engine and it prevents rocks and road debris from damaging a/c components or the radiator.
A much more durable version is our aluminum undertray. It's a direct bolt on replacement for the factory unit and resolves the issues for the long haul.
We kept driving the car pretty hard right up to 166,900 miles and then decided it was time to build and install a fresh RX8Performance engine....Stay tuned!
Posted by Scott G on May 12, 2015 in News.