Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rebuilding the Mazda RX8

You learn life lessons in the strangest ways sometimes.  Personally for me I've learned that you should never ever buy a used Tuner car no matter how tempting.  Well unless you really like working on said car.  Really really like working on said car.  Case in point my roommate's 2004 Turbo charged Mazda RX8.  Since you probably haven't been following my other blog's Weekly Review posts more than likely you have no idea that I have been helping my roommate rebuild his RX8 after the engine blew an Apex seal during the Spring IMS drive. 

The first time the roommate had to replace the engine in the car was when he had only had the car for some 200 miles.  That rebuild he had his father help in the process and we learned a lot but unfortunately we didn't learn some really important things like we did this second time around.  The Turbo went back in the way it was and things were good.  Fast forward several thousand miles and updates and head scratching latter.  Like finding out that the fuel mappings and ignition timings were just messed up.  I'm also thinking that the winter flooding of the engine probably didn't help things but sure enough it's bound to happen since apparently Turbo charging the RX8 is NOT a good thing to do. And on a third gear pull one of the Apex seals said no and popped.

This meant the car was going under the knife again and getting another engine.  Also the roommate was doing a lot of thinking of just what he wanted to do with the car at that point.  The first thing and most important was that the Turbo was getting left off this time and the car was going back to stock or as close as we could get it.  The reason for that was to sell the car and get an FD.  He flipped flopped a bit about whether or not to just sell the car now or keep it for a while and autocross it in STX.  Some parts were ordered, some parts were sold and more flip flopping occurred while in the process of removing the engine.   While working on the removal we found out that some other things were just wrong with the Turbo setup like the FMIC was in upside down and had a large section of smaller piping that was definitely not helping the air flow.  We also found out that the aftermarket engine mounts that were included sucked major ass because it actually raised the engine a good 3 inches from the stock location throwing off all sorts of alignments and what not.  Probably why changing the oil was such a huge pain in the ass too.  So from my perspective the original build of the Turbo setup was just a horrible and shitty job that probably robbed the engine of its Hp potential and probably aided in shortening the life of the engine itself.  I could have probably built a better set up than what was in there. 

Probably why the shop that built the car is out of business.  That isn't the end of the story either.  Thankfully after thinking about it the roommate sent the car and engine off to the trusted dealership to be put back together professionally and correctly, not that we couldn't have put the car back together but knowing that it's done 100% correctly is a sigh of relief. in fact it's almost done as well.  What would have taken us another week or so the dealership had the car completed in two days instead.  Will the roommate be happy in the lose of power that the Turbo added, will the car feel the same, will all the gauge pods finally work?  I don't know and only time will tell but for now we've definitely learned some lessons and I don't think I'll ever buy an aftermarket tuned car.  The game is fun but replacing engines is not.  During the process I've taken some pictures which you can find on flicker.

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