RX-8 Daily Driver: Tune-Up!

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Murphy's law is that if it can go wrong, it will. And as I was rushing to get the car fired up, I leaned/pushed on the rubber accordion intake and heard a snap. One of the 12 year old 90° plastic bends, indicated by the yellow arrow, snapped. And while I was removing it very 'carefully', I cracked the second one right beside it! Of course, it was a Friday and 4:30PM.

We chatted for a few minutes about some three rotor builds they had in progress and about an SR20 engine that was in the bed of a pickup truck in their lot. Then I left and made it to a local auto parts store. They were able to match my broken pieces to the proper setup – and I was back in business. Just a regular tune-up and de-flood. Not a search for parts for my nearly 13 year old car.

 

This Snap-ON fluorescent shop light is fantastic. There's no question that it is the best shop light that I have ever owned. I mounted it so that it's always close at hand while working on my cars. In the background you can see plywood, insulation, baseboards, and a bunch of other stuff. Renovations are drawing to a close!

Back in my garage I jacked up the front of the RX-8 and removed the driver’s side front tire. There are guys who say that you can change the plugs with the tire still in place. Personally, I don’t find removing a tire to be a challenge so it will always come off. Likewise, I learned from my buddy Dave to keep yourself as far from your work as possible. I am pretty sure it saves on damaged knuckles and fingers – so I always use two extensions on the ratchet wrench so I was essentially working in the wheel well rather than the crowded engine bay.

 

To avoid skinning my knuckles, I make full use of the tools in my toolbox. Multiple extensions move my work area into the wheel well, rather than in the miniscule space available in the engine bay. The garage came with these awesome plastic floor tiles already in place. Looks fantastic, but my plastic car ramps won't work – they just slide in front of the tires.

Removing the first spark plug confirmed that the engine was flooded. With a piston engine that usually just means foot to the floor on the accelerator and usually the engine fires up and you are good to go. With a rotary engine, not so lucky. Well, at least I am not so lucky. I have heard of some owners who have had their rotary fire up and then be off to the races.  My car has flooded twice in the six years I have owned it. Both times it required a lot of elbow grease.

 

While the first plug I removed proved that the engine was flooded, the second plug I removed broke while removing the spark plug wire. No question about the need for a replacement! It was over a year overdue, by my standards. This was neither the equipment nor the car's fault – it was all on me.

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