Tag Archives: mazda rx-8

Sunday Fun Day Part 2! SCCA Solo II AutoX at the Meadowlands

My day got better as I kept on hearing tires screeching on the neighboring parking lot in the Meadowlands… I was already enjoying the view of the older MX-5’s racing… I discovered one white NA had huge plumes of flames shooting out under braking at the end of their autoX course… so my goal was to catch it on film trying to take a picture. I of unfortunately failed. But having heard the noise of engines roaring nearby decided to check out what it was.

Boy am I glad I did…. because it both excited me and pissed me off.

I’ll explain why, but first let me share some pix:

Notice anything different to Parking Lot L?

Parking Lot E definitely looks different… Most cars didn’t drive here on their own, they were towed. Most car numbers are real stickers not painter’s tape. The cars are newer. The asphalt looks better in the parking lot. Hey, these folks got deep pockets!

This is what excites me… the cool cars. The variety. The performance. And this is what pisses me off… Look at all this fucking money! I’m so sick and tired of SCCA raising fees because they need more money and look at all this stuff in SOLO, they are not hurting for money. They got all the money in the world. It upsets me that they can’t afford to offer training in this area of the country, the New York/New Jersey Regions, but the money clearly is flowing in. Anyway… back to the cars, racing around cones set up on a big parking lot. I enjoyed watching. It was great! Many cars traveled long distance to be here. I saw lots of NER – New England Region stickers. A lot of cars with Connecticut plates. A lot of serious machinery, racing for 40-50 seconds at a time. And that’s cool!

But even with the cool machinery I was bored after five minutes.

So I departed on my final stop of my Sunday Fun Day automotive adventures… BBQ with car people in Edison.

Mazda DPi looks like a real production Mazda the 1st Gen Mazda RX-8

I made a post a while back wishing prototypes looked more like production cars (e.g. Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR, Porsche 911 GT1, McLaren F1 GTR). I think this year’s Mazda DPi platform came fairly close at resembling a production Mazda… though you have to squint just right to see that resemblance.

I think, and I could be wrong, but to me the current SpeedSource Mazda RT24-P looks a lot like the 1st Generation Mazda RX-8 especially the very early models of 2003-2008 vintage.

Just look at it:

And compare it to this picachu yellow RX-8:

To me, the narrow grille, the almond shaped headlights, the big wheel arches and even the fog light openings all resemble one another on the new prototype and the old street car.

Granted there are plenty of differences, like the fact the RX-8 was Rotary powered being the most obvious. And the fact that few things about the MRT24-P (besides the sponsorship money of course) actually come from Mazda Motors, the car was built by Multimatic in Canada, the same company that builds both the race and the street versions of the Ford GT for Ford Motor Company, engines are AER, etc. Still I would say they did a great job creating a vehicle that at first look does resemble a real Mazda! This is obviously not the case with the Cadillac DPi’s for example, or even the Tequila Patron Nissans (although they did a great job modifying a nose of the Ligier to look very Nissan-like).

Way to go Mazda!

Mazda MX-5: Oil Change at 5,000 miles with Pennzoil Platinum 0W20 and K&N Filter HP-1002

Update: (Feb 2017) I wasn’t sure what was causing the car to act weird after this maintenance session at Chris’s house. Now that some time and mileage have passed I think I figured it out. And the result is a few issues. 1). part of the problem was the fact we overfilled the transmission fluid during the flush. There was an issue we found with proper checking of the level (which required running the car to get it warm, and then opening the check valve). 2). my car doesn’t seem to like 0W20 weight oil. I posted a few times that I don’t like Mobil 1 and now I can add Pennzoil Platinum 0W20 to the list. Both Mobil 1 and Pennzoil Platinum 0W20 turned real dark at just about 5k miles which shouldn’t happen. This makes me believe I should totally stick to 5W20 from now on. I’ve changed out the Pennzoil from this post with Castrol EDGE 5W20 and car feels absolutely perfect!


I don’t think I’ve ever had an oil change party with friends until this weekend, where my buddy Chris with a 2008 Silver NC1 GT PRHT offered to help me flush most of the fluids on my car while performing the same service on a bunch of cars in his household.

The plan was to flush the power steering fluid and fill it fresh with Mobil 1 ATF. Flush the Automatic transmission fluid with Pennzoil Platinum High Mileage ATF, and finally change my oil with Pennzoil Platinum 0W20 that I’ve had sitting at my home since about this time last year when I got the crazy deal from Advance Auto on two sets of oils (one 5W20 which I used up during spring, followed by two more Pennzoil Platinum 5W20 changes that I bought during the summer and now for the winter decided to go with thinner 0W20).

I’ll make separate posts for each maintenance item, so click on whatever interests you most:

I must admit that after doing all these fluid changes the car feels a bit weird and I can’t really pin point what the issue is. I’m sure it is fluid related because there’s a faint drone coming from either the engine or the transmission. Note to self: next time do one fluid flush at a time so if there is an issue like this it is easier to narrow down.

But back to the oil change party at Chris’s house.

The day started with a trip to the Subaru dealership to pick up an oil filter for his XV… then Chris changed his ’08 NC’s oil using Castrol Edge 5W20 Extended which I’d like to try in my car at some point in the future once Pennzoil stops being so cheap with all of their promos. While Chris’s brother Eric did an oil change on his Mazda RX-8 Rotary with Castrol Edge 10W30.

My car was last and oil was basically the last thing we did to it, but since it was the easiest job I’ll write about it first.

I was curious to see how Chris does his oil changes and for someone so meticulous as he is, he does it very differently than I do. He jacks the front, keeps the oil cap on, undoes the drain plug, the filter, and re-installs the drain plug with a new bolt that I picked up at a local Mazda dealer for $7.99 accompanied with a $1.65 crush washer. In all the oil changes I’ve done to my car to date I never changed the nut and the washer, but since Chris was doing my car for me, I had him do the same thing he does to his car, so mine also received the new bolt and crush washer. I typically jack the car up and put it on jack stands and when the fluid drains, I lower the passenger side so more of the dirty oil comes out. Chris doesn’t do that himself, which I found to be pretty interesting. Chris was surprised that his car took more Castrol Edge oil than it normally does using Mobil 1 oil which he has used in the past. Mine took the standard amount of Pennzoil that I typically use, which is just above 4.5 QT.

Some pix from the day:

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My supplies, Pennzoil Platinum 0W20, new Mazda bolts and washers and a K&N HP-1002 filter.


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Chris’s supplies Castrol Edge 5W20 Extended Performance oil with Mobil 1 M1-102 filter.


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Eric’s choice: Castrol Edge 10W30 Extended Performance oil.

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Seeing the RX-8 up close and personal made me appreciate that car a bit more, it’s surprising how massive it is compared to the Miata

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Also pretty incredible how tiny yet thirsty the Rotary engine is.

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It felt good to finish up the day with the easiest job of the evening, the oil change… (which happened around midnight… Yikes!)

Now if only I could figure out why is my engine running louder on 0W20 compared to 5W20 and why there’s this faint shimmy going on that I could feel at highway speed which seems to come from the front of the car, around the engine area. (or possible the trans).

Click here to read about the tranny fluid flush or here for power steering fluid flush.

Mazda MX-5: Wheel Bearing Hub Replacement with RX-8 (F189 33 04X) Timken Part#: HA590360

Today’s project involved replacing the stock MX-5 front wheel bearing hubs with an upgraded RX-8 hub from Timken part #: HA590360 (OEM part #: F189 33 04X which is ironically stamped on the back of the Timken product along with a Mazda logo – mind you there was no Mazda logos on the original hubs I took off the car). And it’s all thanks to fucking Detroit… and Jessie who diagnosed the problem simply by hearing the symptoms.

So long story short I went to volunteer for Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix completely forgetting how fucked the roads are in Michigan. Some of the pot holes I hit on this trip were teeth clenching and made me curse myself out for doing it. I love Detroit, but it’s a city you fly into and rent a car and not destroy your personal one. Lesson learned $206 dollars later. I was lucky enough to find a deal through RockAuto.com who was selling the Timken parts for a good 3rd less than the competition. Plus I found a 5% coupon online and there was no tax, with free shipping having the part arrive the day after I ordered it. How cool?!

I was volunteering in Pennsylvania the day the part arrived, doing my first IndyCar event at Pocono Raceway, and driving there confirmed something was amiss as the front end of the car was making some humming noise. It wasn’t terrible. There was no vibration that was annoying, but it was in the background.

Today I stopped by AutoZone to rent some tools I’d need for this job including a slide hammer and a torque wrench (which was broken) all in $120 dollars deposit, which I got back upon returning the tools a few hours later. I also stopped at Lowe’s home improvement store to pick up some Loctite blue thread locker in addition to the anti-seize I picked up at AutoZone with the tools.

The job was fairly straightforward. There was no videos to watch on YouTube of someone else having done this, and frankly I wasn’t really going to do it myself because I lack the technical experience to do the job. But it was simple. Few things went along stubbornly but otherwise it was a quick job. I took a shit ton of pictures of most of the process which I’ll share below.

Unlike the right hub being bad, it turns out that the bearing in the left hub was damaged. It was making some noise when turning right especially so you can see how I was tricked. But I think the failure was at the very early stages because everything felt pretty tight on the car when I tried to diagnose it (besides hearing the noise).

I did both sides simultaneously so it went along pretty quickly.

I’ll let the pictures tell the story:

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Notice how the Timken product has Mazda stamped on it with the OEM part number on the back of the plastic ABS sensor cover.

I still can’t believe this box arrived by FedEx in one day!

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Beautiful day to tinker with the car!

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First order of business was to spray every bolt and nut with CRC degreaser… that stuff works like magic!

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After I sprayed everything I went to the store to pick up my AutoZone rental tools for the job… $120 deposit later, they’re here:

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Notice that the slide hammer and the axle puller are separate parts.

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Then started spraying the CRC some more, and more… the screws holding the rotors/disks on were a pain to get going!

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A couple of angry yanks on the slide hammer and the hub popped out, this was actually the easy part!

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And the other side:

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Comparing the OEM MX-5 hub on the right with Timken RX-8 hub on the left side… similar but there are obvious differences like that dimple in the center of the RX-8 hub.

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I used some plastic baggies I had laying around to cover up the ABS sensor which was the first thing I unbolted in this job.

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The old hubs:

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Another side by side between MX-5 and RX-8 hubs:

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Time to lube them with anti-seize and do the easy work, installing the new part:

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Perfect fit, and so much easier to install then uninstall:

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I dabbed Loctite thread locker on every bolt I put back in.

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Job done… took the car on a test drive on the way back to AutoZone to return the rental tools. Sounds so much better! And feels tighter too. I thought the car wasn’t loose to begin with but now the steering is much much tighter than when it was with the shot bearing. Very happy with this install and will get to try it out on my next road trip to VIR in a couple of days. I hope the gas mileage improves because lately it had dropped from 34mpg I typically got going to Watkins Glen to just about 31mpg. That’s a big difference!

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