Topic: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

We just finished our first Lemons race with a 97 firebird at Joliet and had a blast.  The car ran well for its first race. We have the opportunity to buy a 6 speed manual RX8 with 145,000 miles for $500 from a friend.  Will test drive the car Thursday and get more details.  Will also get a compression check since the rotary engines start to loose compression after 100,000 miles.  Any thoughts on this car for Lemons?  The chassis is very balanced but will the engine last 14 hours?   The hood sits so low, wonder if the engine goes bad, would it be best to stay with a rotary engine or swap in a 4 cylinder Honda or ecotec?   Also wonder if the judges will add penalty laps for this chassis.  Thanks.

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

A $500 rx8 is an interesting choice.
Judges will have to see what kind of cheaty suspension and other factors you will try and sneak through.
The engine can really be a question mark. They either work or they don't. As a former Mazda Tech who worked on the RX8 when they were new, I can tell you that rarely a week would go by without an engine replacement.
Good Luck
Manny

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

If it won't or has trouble starting hot, then it has the typical RX8 low compression problem.  At 145k, it either has the problem or has been rebuilt.  If it hit starts, I'd run premix and send it

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita"  1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless) 2002 Jaguar x-type (Winner C-Class 2021 Sears Pointless)
Gone bye-bye
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)  1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites)

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

I'd keep the Firebird. There are tons of go-fast parts and usually they are cheap. What model do you have? We run a 88 WS6 bird. Only down side is fuel tank, however Lemons lets you run a 24 gallon cell.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

5 (edited by duthehustle93 2021-08-24 09:30 AM)

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

It won't be too hard to find a rotary junkie, seems like people who get into them get VERY into them. I have a few buddies into rotaries and I recall them saying something about the RX8 motor being the worst one, something about emissions and people not running premix. I think with a premix it'll be fine, and changing an engine is REALLY easy, at least on the RX7's. I would help my buddies hand load and unload 13B's and you could do it with two people easy. Get it, run premix, and being a spare engine with you with a long 2x4 and a strap as your cherry picker ... sounds like a blast. Also, it's a great chassis, I think the rotary is the only thing that would get you a chance to not get wrecked during BS. If you ecotech swap it you're talking about a really cheaty car, IMO.

Full Ass Racing
#455 Piñata Miata

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

Engine swap is not so easy on an RX8.
RX7 is way easier.
Manny

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

We love the Firebird and are running WS6 wheels, C5 front rotors and eibachs.   The car is very neutral and we took over a 100lbs of weight off the front. The 3800 blew a head gasket so we will refresh this over the winter.  The brakes locked up 3 times and I anticipate that was due to the ABS module malfunctioning.  We will replace that with a Wilwood proportioning valve.  We will ad an oil cooler and change the rear gear to a 3.73 possibly.
The RX8 was going to be a 2nd car for our team.  Because they handle so well , I thought maybe I should buy this six speed model.   Maybe see how much a spare engine goes for and run premix to keep it healthy.  Remove the cats.   Wonder how hard it is to replace the engine.  Can a cooler for the oil be added?

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

Book time for a short block replacement is 16 hours.......Jus sayin'

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

Thanks for the advice.  Any idea on the cost of a replacement engine?  My search shows $2000 but not sure if that is a reliable answer.

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

I wonder since the car is for Lemons, and you don’t need cruise, AC, cats, then maybe the engine install would be a little simpler/faster-I guess always plan for the worst case scenario.   There is a company in Pierceton Indiana that specialized in all rotor rebuilds and racing parts-Banzai racing.

11 (edited by Mr.Yuck 2021-08-25 06:01 AM)

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

florianscholz wrote:

We love the Firebird and are running WS6 wheels, C5 front rotors and eibachs.   The car is very neutral and we took over a 100lbs of weight off the front. The 3800 blew a head gasket so we will refresh this over the winter.  The brakes locked up 3 times and I anticipate that was due to the ABS module malfunctioning.  We will replace that with a Wilwood proportioning valve.  We will ad an oil cooler and change the rear gear to a 3.73 possibly.
The RX8 was going to be a 2nd car for our team.  Because they handle so well , I thought maybe I should buy this six speed model.   Maybe see how much a spare engine goes for and run premix to keep it healthy.  Remove the cats.   Wonder how hard it is to replace the engine.  Can a cooler for the oil be added?

Time for a 5.0 or 5.7l. We got at least 300lbs off our Gen III. We run a 5.0 (almost stock) and 5 speed, we also upgraded to C5/6 brakes, made a huge difference.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

12 (edited by Mr.Yuck 2021-08-25 06:05 AM)

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

florianscholz wrote:

Thanks for the advice.  Any idea on the cost of a replacement engine?  My search shows $2000 but not sure if that is a reliable answer.

You can buy running SBC's on C-list all day for $250-750. 305's are almost free. Basic rebuild kit, cam, headers and roll. Just make sure it is a roller motor. Our old 84, the 88 has the same drivetrain, but will be faster. this is a 305. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpZHzZYXhJQ

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

florianscholz wrote:

I wonder since the car is for Lemons, and you don’t need cruise, AC, cats, then maybe the engine install would be a little simpler/faster-I guess always plan for the worst case scenario.   There is a company in Pierceton Indiana that specialized in all rotor rebuilds and racing parts-Banzai racing.

get rid of it all.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

Mkotzias wrote:

Engine swap is not so easy on an RX8.
RX7 is way easier.
Manny

Is this from accessories or just the engine placement itself? Good to know, I just figured any engine that small would be an easy picking.

Full Ass Racing
#455 Piñata Miata

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

duthehustle93 wrote:
Mkotzias wrote:

Engine swap is not so easy on an RX8.
RX7 is way easier.
Manny

Is this from accessories or just the engine placement itself? Good to know, I just figured any engine that small would be an easy picking.

Meh... they're shoving LS engines in RX8s these days.... https://v8roadsters.com/product/rx8-lsx-mounting-kit/ ..... and if those fit, you can bet a 5.0 or SBC could be shoe-horned in there without toooo much engineering.

@florianscholz - if you guys decide to go with the RX8, and have a reasonable budget for retheming, I have a concept that I've been wanting to build since forever.  There's another local team that used to race an RX8 in Lemons, that was keen to the concept, but their members seemed to have dispersed to faraway places.

Darren

Bad Mojo Racing
1971 Opel GT "Breadvan"
2012 - April Gingerman (Ercole Spada Award) and October AutoBahn (19th in Class B, 52nd OA )
2013 - April Gingerman (8th in Class B, 25th OA) and June AutoBahn (WINNER Class B, 9th OA)

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

We will walk away from the rx8 and just concentrate on our 97 firebird.  I called Benzai Racing who specializes in rotary engines and at 145,000 miles, they won’t be able to rebuild the motor.  A new Mazda motor is $4500.  The swap is terribly labor intensive.  They mentioned the durability is not there anyway for an endurance race.  The car has electric power steering and a finicky ECU, making engine swaps tough.  Also, the reason the car handles so well is due to the tiny lightweight rotary behind the front axle line.  Putting a SBC would change the handling of the car.  Our firebird is lowered on Eibachs and 275’s and it did well in the corners and is probably within 100bs of the Mazda.  Thanks for all the advice.

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

florianscholz wrote:

We will walk away from the rx8 and just concentrate on our 97 firebird.  I called Benzai Racing who specializes in rotary engines and at 145,000 miles, they won’t be able to rebuild the motor.  A new Mazda motor is $4500.  The swap is terribly labor intensive.  They mentioned the durability is not there anyway for an endurance race.  The car has electric power steering and a finicky ECU, making engine swaps tough.  Also, the reason the car handles so well is due to the tiny lightweight rotary behind the front axle line.  Putting a SBC would change the handling of the car.  Our firebird is lowered on Eibachs and 275’s and it did well in the corners and is probably within 100bs of the Mazda.  Thanks for all the advice.

Just swap in a SBC and T5...lol just kidding. Go find vortex headed SBC and have fun in the bird.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

I'll just leave this right here.

https://www.murileemartin.com/UG/LCO11/LCO11-UG-037.jpg

https://www.murileemartin.com/UG/LCO11/LCO11-UG-038.jpg

Eric Rood
Everything Bagel, 24 Hours of Lemons
eric@24hoursoflemons.com

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

[Deafening silence]

Eric Rood
Everything Bagel, 24 Hours of Lemons
eric@24hoursoflemons.com

Re: Mazda RX8 a good choice for Lemons

There are always a million reasons why you shouldn't race any particular car in Lemons. The rx8 would be fun, with or without pistons.

BSOD Racing, 1987 Fiat X1/9