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Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/4/20 8:06 a.m.
RedGT said:

Silver car rear suspension linkages:


Red car suspension linkages:

Ah... I was going to ask "why?" but that makes sense.

RedGT Dork
11/4/20 8:08 a.m.

Since it was off the road for so long, PA estimates it will take 30-90 (90!) days to get the title processed.  So I have some time to drive it, fix some little things it needs, and see which car is actually going to get sold. 

The red one originally was purchased as a nonrunning parts car, as it was sitting for 8 years aftershutting off while driving back in 2012.  However it is REALLY nice underneath, inside, and mechanically.  After 3 days of tinkering with it, we've got it running finally.  SO it's at least going to get sold in one piece, or maybe keep it and sell the silver one.

Currently kind of waiting to see if a fuse blows again after some more drive time and then may have to troubleshoot that, as I am skeptical that a 'bad fuse' was the root cause.  Seems more likely one of the O2 sensors or the OMP (all related to that fuse) may cause an issue after the car has been running for a while and blow that fuse.  Tonight's project is getting the rest of the very bad gas out of the tank (currently about 2 gallons of varnished garbage and 5 gallons of fresh premium) because it stinks and smokes when running but does run and drive fine.

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/4/20 8:09 a.m.

Well E36 M3, I wouldn't have sold mine for $500 if I knew just the cat was worth that!

IHitCones2 New Reader
11/4/20 8:20 a.m.

Does the red one have a sunroof?

RedGT Dork
11/4/20 8:30 a.m.

In reply to IHitCones2 :

Sadly, yes.  It would have been a slam dunk if it didn't.  :(  It also would have probably sold before i got to it though.  Same for the silver one. 

I'm learning to live with it.  With the seat pan dropped it is super comfy for street driving now.  Still kinda weird slouching in there with a helmet for autox, but for a 'just for fun' autox car i don't mind.

RedGT Dork
11/30/20 8:28 a.m.

Have completely neglected this thread, need to catch up on 3 weeks of stuff.  But for now, here's the new car, this time tipping the budgetary scales at $751.43 by GRM$2k math.  About $1150 in real life when including tax, title fees, towing, and wasting two fills worth of coolant and a bunch of fuel while sorting out a few issues from the long term storage.



The silver one is being sold to a friend, just as soon as I completely gut both passenger seats to swap the integral-to-the-slide-rails airbag weight sensors between them.  Turns out 2004-2005 cars have no weight sensors in the passenger seat.  2006+ do.  The original seats out of the silver car are gone and I put cloth seats in.  I am keeping those and putting the red car's pristine heated leather seats into the silver car when it goes away.  Problem is the silver car is a 2007 and is looking for seat weight sensors that are not present in the 2005 seats.  Fun.


RedGT Dork
12/4/20 10:31 a.m.

Well, when I got the silver car I put cloth seats in it and sold the leather seats as mentioned above.  Needing a 2006+ passenger seat again, on a whim I contacted the guy who bought them.  Turns out he lives 15 minutes away and hadn't used the seats for anything because his plan to begin a Model T rat rod project was diverted into purchasing a nearly-complete 1940 Ford Coupe.  The seats weren't a great aesthetic match for that car so he was happy to sell them back to me for what he paid, and went out and found black leather mercedes seats that are square-shouldered and fit the look of the hardtop coupe much better.


Back in place 3 months later and ready to go to the new owner.

Look ma, no airbag light!


Traded the 17x9 +45 RPF1's for 17x8 +48 Kosei wheels that are CS legal.  Impossibly clean for used wheels.  Looks like the last shop to work on them was...not so bright.  That's over half a pound of wheel weights opposite each other bc evidently the shop did not remove the previous weights before balancing up a new set of tires.  All four wheels were like this.


They look...well they look a lot better than black wheels did, but they are still comically small on an RX8.  that's the cost of running 17" tires to save money :(

RedGT Dork
12/4/20 10:38 a.m.

As for what the issue was on the red car?  Diagnosis:

-Got the car home.  With a new battery it cranks happily.

-Replace fuel pump relays.  Still no fuel pump power.

-Jumper fuel pump relays.  Pump!  Start!  Idle!  Yay!  However this means the fuel pump is going full bore any time the key is turned on, no PCM control and no high/low voltage cycling on the pump.  Full speed all the time.  Also the car is in limp mode and will not rev above 4000 rpm.

-Upon WAY TOO MUCH further investigation and wire tracing, pcm swapping, etc, a blown fuse was found. 


-Circuit contains the rear O2 sensor, OilMeteringPump and a couple of other things... and happens to interrupt power to the fuel pump relay if this fuse is blown.  Makes no sense but that's how it is.

-The car had been in limp mode because the OMP didn't have power and this is a rotary failsafe.

-Remember kids, when you buy a car with electrical problems, check EVERY DAMN FUSE in the fuse box.  First!

-With that fuse replaced, the car starts and runs properly.

-or so we thought.


docwyte UberDork
12/4/20 2:18 p.m.

Oh come on!  Don't leave us with a Cliffhanger!

RedGT Dork
12/7/20 4:31 p.m.

-So the car would now idle happily, and rev freely.  A short drive around the block went fine, although VERY smokey due to the old gas.

-Previously we'd just added 3 gallons of fresh gas on top of whatever crap was in the tank, about 8 years old and varnished.  So let's go to the gas station and get fresh gas.  3 miles away.  We got this.

-Car drives great to the gas station.  Getting smokier and smokier though.  Foulest smelling smoke ever, mmmm varnish.

-Upon shutting it down, it's...still smoking.  Out the exhaust.  For the entire time I'm putting gas in it.  People are staring.

-OK let's get out of here and figure out what the hell is burning out of the exhaust.

-About 2/3 of the way home the coolant suddenly exits in a glorious explosion.  Limp/coast the car back to the garage.

-Turns out the upper radiator hose has the clamp about 2" back from the radiator inlet and has blown the hose off.  No damage.  Reinstall hose and clamp, fill with coolant.  Who the heck leaves a hose clamp off like that?!  How long was it off?  Nobody knows!

-Remove cat and replace with test pipe.  This stops the violent smoking.  I guess varnished fuel + catalytic converter = really bad?  No clue.  But it's 'fixed'.  And the coolant is bled, we think, it's not behaving quite right....

-OK let's go for another test drive!

-2 miles later a different hose lets go. Same deal, the clamp was moved an inch back from the pipe...except this one we KNOW was in place.

Did you figure it out sooner than we did?  Yup, the thermostat was stuck closed.  And the radiator cap is also a little suspicious for letting it build that kind of pressure - although that is not a way in which the system was intended to be pressurized so the t-stat may have been the whole issue.  New (used) t-stat, new radiator cap, and it runs without overheating.  Yay.

By this point the fuel is still nasty as hell though.  The car had started with ~8 gallons of varnished garbage in the tank and we drained it with the fuel pump down to about 1/4 tank or 3ish gallons according to the shop manual, the limit to which the pump will drain the tank through the fuel lines.  Then 3 gallons, followed by 5 gallons, of good new gas were added.  Though the car would run pretty good it still smelled terrible and smoked visibly.  So I bought an external pump definitely not intended to pump flammable substances and drained the entire tank  with fingers crossed and refilled with 5 gallons of good gas.  Much better but still stinky.

As a side note when you spill some of this old 'fuel' it will never fully evaporate.  Wow.

Now since this mess, the car has been through 3 tanks of fuel, a bottle of HEET, 2 bottles of fuel injector/fuel system cleaner and it seems pretty normal at this point.  I'm basically waiting for any future fuel related issues to crop up before doing anything about it.  Guess it could probably use a fuel filter...hm I should order one...

At this point it made the 60-mile drive from my rotary friend's garage to my house, with a buddy following in his ND.  With the top down.  Between the stinky fuel and the catless test-pipe he gave me a wide berth :D


RedGT Dork
12/7/20 4:43 p.m.

To mostly catch up, I've been doing some cleaning, trying to get the nasty exterior coating of hardened calcified dirt (or something) off the glass:

And did some basic tune up things.  New water pump, new spark plugs, new belts.  

Compression test - not bad.  Not great.  Pretty 'ok'.  

The water pump gasket.  Are you kidding me?

JeremyJ Reader
12/7/20 5:52 p.m.

I laughed at the gasket before I even read your caption. That's pretty good. 

thedoc HalfDork
12/7/20 7:11 p.m.

Great story! I had to laugh when you bought the red one.  I picked up a focus svt, fell in love with it, then bought another, much nicer on with a super charger.

You are making me want to pick one of these up....but I am resisting.  Dang, I have always loved these cars

RedGT Dork
12/8/20 8:35 a.m.

One more thing.  The rear O2 sensor was still dead.  Finally got around to tracing the wires to it, of the three from the PCM one of them had no continuity, upon further investigation the pins were pulling out of the connector and generally looked TRASHED:


You could re-seat the pins and attempt to hold them in place while connecting the O2 side of the plug but still a flaky connection.  I'd wager that this is what took down the whole car in the first place way back in 2012.

I bought a 4pos weatherproof connector and wired it in place of this.  Confirmed continuity thru the connector on all four and continuity on all 3 from the PCM now but still no +12v with the key on.  That's enough of this crap, Versatuner had a black Friday sale and I kinda wanted to play around with a 'real' tuner anyway.  It's easy to flash back to stock for CS autocross in....5 months from now.

But we don't have any laptops around here any more, except work-provided ones...so.

Currently the car has the factory tune flashed back onto it with the two rear O2 DTC's disabled.  No more CEL!  Not only was it annoying to look at but I wanted to know if another more important CEL came up rather than just ignore the light indefinitely.  After ~70 miles of driving on this setup and several restarts, the dash is still light-free!

RXBeetle Reader
12/8/20 8:09 p.m.

There's a recall on the fuel pump module. The filter is integrated in the module so freebie! Probably a good idea to have that done after running a bunch of fuel injector cleaner through it to let the old filter grab as much gunk as it can.


If for some reason that doesn't pan out, I have an OE one still in the box I can't use. 

RedGT Dork
12/8/20 10:26 p.m.

In reply to RXBeetle :

Thanks, didnt realize that!  The car actually came with a new pump because the previous owner tried that to fix the original problem.  So i have the original with 30k, and also a new one.  Currently the new one is installed, so i doubt a dealer would do anything.

Funny enough, i referenced that recall earlier in this diagnosis because the full dealer version outlines how far to drain the tank before opening the lid under the seat, how the pump behaves when running with no load, etc.  

RedGT Dork
12/28/20 3:19 p.m.

Winter has fully settled in, but have been making excuses to put miles on the car in an attempt to get the OBD2 emissions self-checks to complete so I can get an inspection sticker.


On that note, it seems that something is still funky here with the rear oxygen sensor.  It will never, ever, ever complete 'catalyst' and 'oxygen sensor' self-checks.  Need to do more troubleshooting.  One theory says figure out what is still wrong in the O2 wiring and fix it.  Another theory is that turning off EVERY CEL related to those items might make the system happy but I am suspicious of this.It appears the tune only has the capability to 'mask' a code, not entirely disable the self-check.  

The rear end had an occasional odd noise when accelerating in a tight slow corner so I changed the diff fluid for the heck of it.  The noise does appear to have gone away.


And picked up another set of lightweight 17x8 wheels with snow tires mounted.

About 500 miles on the car so I did an oil change.  Cut the filter open to check on that.  Everything seems in order.  For whatever reason this car seems to generate moisture (i.e. milkshake-y oil/water foam droplets) under the oil cap and up the dipstick tube which isn't something I have experienced before in any car including the silver RX8.  Maybe some part of the PCV system is not working as it should?  Coolant level is steady.  Actual oil looks fine.  But whatever amount of water vapor is in the 'crankcase' is not cooking off even with some long hot drives.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
12/28/20 3:22 p.m.

In reply to RedGT :

Does that parking space still have stains on it from when I used to park my incredibly terrible Isuzu Impulse there?

RedGT Dork
12/28/20 3:26 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

In reply to RedGT :

Does that parking space still have stains on it from when I used to park my incredibly terrible Isuzu Impulse there?

This is hilarious and 'yes, i guess so?'.  I remember I did a double take when leaving, thought the RX8 had dripped fluid.

RedGT Dork
3/26/21 10:36 a.m.

Roughly 2500 miles on the car so far and it is still in one piece.

Since the last post I discovered the factory TSB for repairing the dipstick milkshake and ordered the whole kit.  It's still in the box.  Got new OEM brake pads with that order.  They are still in the box too.  I have 4 new rotors i picked up a while ago.  Also in the box.  The shocks are still in the trunk of my Miata...in a box.  I'm registered for an autocross on Saturday.  I put the 'good' tires on.  Discovered one of them is mounted with 'inside' on the, well, outside.  Haven't gotten the car inspected either.  Very well prepared over here.  At least I've managed to put gas (and premix) in it over winter.

RedGT Dork
4/5/21 10:06 a.m.

Hey look, progress!



Bump stops have taken a beating but I've seen worse.  A clean work area is overrated.  


Old questionable spring compressors still chugging along.  Barely had to crank this spring down much, thankfully.


New used shock assembled into stock spring and top hat.


Aaaaaaand installed.  Both rears took a little under two hours, of course that was split to nearly 1.5 hrs for the first one and 30 min for the second.  So it goes.


Of course the rebound adjuster at the top of the shock is located....approximately....here:

So that's fun.  Certainly not conducive to quick adjustments, will have to figure out a decent all-around rebound setting for the rear and then leave it alone most of the time.

karplus2 Reader
4/11/21 3:22 p.m.

The solution for my RX-8's rebound adjusters is to have a couple extra adjusters that live in the top of the rear shocks. They can *just* be reached through the round hole in the body. Not having to fish the adjuster in and out makes it not too bad. 

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
4/13/21 4:06 p.m.

OOOh, that's brutal.  And good to know (I was wanting a set of Koni adjustables)

A guy I used to autocross with had remote adjusters mounted in his trunk.  It was a very clean setup that went though the trim pieces.  I'm guessing he must have been running another brand though, as I'm not seeing any adjusters for the Konis...  I'll be watching with interest.


RedGT Dork
4/13/21 8:42 p.m.

In reply to Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) :

You could run remote koni adjusters such as these intended for an S2k:  https://www.ebay.com/itm/Koni-Yellow-Remote-Adjuster-adapters-s2000-/143288133528

But the preferred option seems to be cutting away enough of the shock tower to reach a normal Koni knob.  This is allowed by SCCA autocross rules in all classes, and of course for 'just track days' you can do whatever you want anyway.  I am planning to machine aluminum or steel knobs that stay on the shock long term and can be poked with a screwdriver through a relatively small access hole.  We'll see if it works.  But first....

RedGT Dork
4/13/21 8:45 p.m.

I caved and bought the full size pics.  it's probably as good as this car is ever going to look.

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