Servicing Tips – RX-8

Here at Essex Rotary we take pride in our servicing and maintenance.

As of 17th October 2015 this article has been updated to reflect our new 4 year service plan for your RX-8.
While Mazda published a standard service plan it has become apparent that this is lacking in some areas, in this article we will set out briefly what we would recommend as changes of additions to the standard service plan. please take in to account this article is targeted at the RX-8 and some aspects will be different when it comes to the RX-7 range of vehicles.

Oil  and Filter Change Intervals
Mazda Service Schedule – 12’500 miles/12 months
Essex Rotary Recommendation – 3’000-6’000 mile / 3-6 month intervals
Mazda advised owners that there oil should be changed at 12’500 mile/12 month intervals, this it something that really is far too long. old dirty oil can be a cause of blocked oil injector lones leading to excessive long term wear the engines rotor housings and seals. couple this with the fact rotary engines should not be using the more turable and long lasting fully synthetic oil and you can see why 12’500 mile intervals is far too long.

Our Recommendation – Essex Rotary recommend that oil and oil filter is changed at an absolute maximum of 6’000 mile/6 month intervals, however to really take care of your engine we would like to see owners changing oil at 3’000 miles/3 month intervals.
Oil grade mineral ideally however some semi-synthetics are ok to use. Viscocity should be 15w40 or 10w40, the exception to this is the Synionic Rotary Oil we stock this is of 10w30 grade however the formulation means it is of excellent quality to protect your rotary enging even when taking in to account its lighter viscocity.

Air Filter
Mazda Service Schedule – 37’500 miles/36 months
Essex Rotary Recommendation  - 12’000 / 12 month intervals
Engine air filter should be changed at most every 25’000 miles or 24months if using the desposable type filters. we do recommend the K&N panel filters due to their non disposable design, buy once and you will never need to replace it again. for more information on the K&N Filter check our shop.

Spark Plugs Changes
Mazda Service Schedule – 37’500 miles/36 months
Essex Rotary Recommendation – 24’000 miles/24 months.
It has become fairly obvious over the years that a service life of 3 years on spark plugs really is far far too long, the condition of spark plugs we remove from customer engines at that have been left in the engine for that long really is shocking. it is with this information that we advise plugs are used for a maximum of 24’000 miles or 2 years. we really would like to see them changed at 12’000-18’000 miles for optimal spark strength.

Drive Belts
Mazda Service Schedule – inspected only
Essex Rotary Recommendation – 50’000 miles/48 months Maximum
With the importance of your drive belts maintaining flow in your cooling system and charge to your battery via the alternator Essex Rotary Recommend that your belts are changed out at maximum of 87’500mile/7 year service intervals. These 7th year services are relatively inexpensive to its also a perfect time to do them.

Ignition Coil Packs
Mazda Service Schedule – Never (they are not recognized as a serviceable item)
Essex Rotary Recommendation – 30’000 mile intervals maximum using Genuine Mazda Coils
Or Consider Changing to Black Halo Racing Upgraded Ignition Coils
Long term experience has shown that Mazdas RX-8 ignition coil pack is no where near as durable at what was supplied on the RX-7, it is common for early generation of Mazdas ignition coil packs to fail around 30’000 miles (some before in extreme cases) with this in mine we recommend if your using Genuine Mazda coils that they are changed out at maximum intervals of 30’000 miles. The knock on effects of failing to keep your ignition system in good health can easily lead to a bill for Coils, HT Leads, Spark Plugs and a Catalytic Converter. They say preventions is always better then cure.

Mazda Service Schedule – Never 25’000 miles/24 months
Essex Rotary Recommendation – 50’000 miles/48 month, (but should be checked yearly to ensure good frost protection)
This recommendation a little strange at first however with the advancements in coolant/antifreeze technology its no possible to get coolant with a service life of up to 11 years (in the case of Mazda FL22) for this reason there is no need to incur extra costs in changing your coolant every 2 years. Our own go to coolant here at our workshop is a “Super Long Life” coolant with a service life of 5 years that we recommend be changed out every 4 for safe measure.

Diff Oil
Mazda Service Schedule – Never 37’500 miles/36 months
Essex Rotary Recommendation – 24’000 miles/24 months
Essex Rotary Recommendation for regular Track Day Cars – 12’000 miles/12 months
Your Diff take a lot of punishment especially if you drive your RX-8 hard on a regular basis for this reason we would recommend a more frequent renewal of your differential fluids to help keep that LSD in good shape. Good oils are important but its just as important to ensure the fluids in your diff are clean. It is not uncommon to find fine metal particles on the magnetic drain plug found in the diff however there should not be any metal chunks present, if any metal chunks are found in the oil or on the plug this is a sigh you have an issue that may require diff replacement sometime in the future.

Gearbox/Transmission Oil
Mazda Service Schedule – Never 62’500 miles/60 months
Essex Rotary Recommendation – 50’000 miles/48 month
Essex Rotary Recommendation for regular Track Day Cars – 12’000 – 24’000 miles/12-24 months
Mazda’s Recommendation in our opinion is far too long. We find we are changing a large amount of gearboxes especially those of the 6 speed variety its no doubt that this failure rate is not helped by the extremely long service interval for transmission fluids. For this reason we recommend that for street application the service intervals be shortened to a maximum of 50’000 miles of 48 months however for those that are regulars at your local tracks or drag strips this should be shortened even further to a 12’000 – 24’000 mile interval or 12-24 months. Here at Essex Rotary we actually swap out our own gearboc oil on a yearly basis to ensure good smooth gearbox operation.

Mazda Service Schedule – Not Featured
Essex Rotary Recommendation – 6’000 Miles/6 monts
One of the only addatives/fuel treatments that are safe to use in a rotary engine.
While Cataclean is not featured in any vehicles service schedule the benefits when used in a rotary engine are excellent. firstly cataclean is designed to clear out your catalytic converter, bringing its operational efficiency back to its best. however its been noted that in a rotary engine it also has an excellent side effect of helping to clean carbon deposits from the engine internals and exhaust ports this is something that can only be a good thing, a 1 shot deal thats used much like a fuel system treatment its simple to use just follow the instructions on the bottle and you cant go wrong.
it should be noted that other then Premix, Cataclean or a similar product called BG44k no other fuel additives should be used in a rotary engine.

Premix 2-Stroke Oil
Mazda Service Schedule – Not Featured
Essex Rotary Recommendation – Every Tank of Fuel
While this does not really fall in to the area of servicing we still feel its beneficial to mention it here.
The benefits of premixing a high quality 2-stroke oil in with your fuel are well documented for rotary engines, not least for the additional lubrication and cooing it offers to the rotor and combustion chambers seals and surfaces, the reduction in metal to metal friction and its ability to help reduce carbon build up inside your engine. There is no need to go in to detail here on the subject
For more information on premixing  check out our technical article on the subject here.

Windscreen Wipers
Mazda Service Schedule – Not Featured
Essex Rotary Recommendation – 24’000 miles/24 months
Never underestimate the importance of a good working set of windscreen wipers, they have many benefits mainly safety and good visibility when driving in rain or snow. this is an area of the vehicle that is usually always overlooked until its too late. for this reason we recommend swapping your windscreen wipers out at least every 24’000 miles or 24 months more frequently would be better. obviously if your wipers are becoming inefficient than they will want doing sooner.
In our experience we have seen some well known wipers last a little as 3-4 months during winter and while this is not always the case it does highlight the importance of using high quality wiper blades instead of the cheapest available. also remember that while you can sometimes get away with simply changing the actual rubber blade, over time the supporting frame of the blade can weaken and fail to hold the contour of the windscreen this is why we wouold always recommend changing the while blade and frame.
We recommend you look at PIAA’s Super silicone range, while they are not the cheapest around their silicon blade technology means long, reliable service life,silent operation (even on a dry screen) and superior visibility even in the heaviest downpours.

EssexRotaryRevisedRX8ServicePlanItems marked with a “X” should be replaced at the intervals mentioned in the top row of the chart.

All these revisions are ultimately brought together to form our own rolling 4 year servicing plan, designed to optimize your engines operational capabilities, It leaves nothing to chance. Simply click on the image above to inspect our revised service plan.
Service packs can be purchased in our online store that will cover everything you require for each years service. starting at Year 1 through to year 4.

Interim Servicing should be carried out at least once a year between each yearly service, Ideally 3000-6000 miles or 3-6 month intervals as mentioned above.