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RX8 Starting Problems | RX-8 Flooding issue

December 3, 2008 · Print This Article

The RX8 (and many other new cars which comply with EURO 4 emissions) can be prone to flooding. The reason for this seems to lie with the need for the catalyser to be warmed quickly to comply with EURO 4 emissions. This means that initially the engine runs very rich increasing the risk of flooding if the engine is not allowed to warm up before switching off.

The manual gives advice on starting which will minimise the chance of problems. The recommended procedure is to depress the clutch; do not touch the accelerator; crank the starter until the engine starts, even if that means cranking the starter for up to 10 seconds. The engine sounds a bit different from a piston engine when starting and can take longer to catch but it’s best to keep going rather than have several attempts.

If this does not work after several attempts then either call Mazda Assist or fully depress the accelerator and crank the engine for 10s (This actually shuts off the fuel to the engine and helps clear fuel from chamber), then try to start as above again. Alternatively removing the fuse to the fuel injection system and cranking the engine should have the same effect.

If this doesn’t work then the plugs may need to be removed to clean them.
Following an episode of flooding the functioning of the cat should be checked by the dealer as it has been known for the unburnt fuel to damage the cat.
In practice problems only seem to happen following a short move from cold e.g. moving car from garage to driveway. If you need to do this then run the engine for a few minutes or go for a run round the block before switching the engine off.


If following the recommend procedure above does not work, you do not have Mazda Assist support and you feel competant, here is the technique Mazda Assist will normally use (to be performed at your own risk):-
  1. Use jump leeds to connect to additional power source (see note 1).
  2. Unplug Air pump connnector (see note 2)
  3. Take fuel pump fuse out (see note 3)
  4. Crank for 4 seconds, pause for 2 seconds, repeat for about a minute
  5. Leave for a minute
  6. Crank for 4 seconds, pause for 2 seconds, repeat for about a minute
  7. Put fuel pump fuse back in
  8. Crank for up to 10 seconds, if it catches but doesn’t start, stop cranking
  9. If not started go back to step 3
  10. If started, wait 30 seconds for oil pressure to rise
  11. Stand on throttle until white smoke stops coming out of the exhaust
  12. Disconnect jump leads
  13. Leave to warm up on idle for a few minutes
  14. Put air punp connector back on (see note 3)
  15. Go for a nice long drive to recharge the battery


An additional power source is required as the standard battery will not crank the engine for long enough to clear a serious flooding. Eiher connect to an additional high capacty battery, or to another car with its engine running.

The Fuel pump fuse is number 22, a 20A, 3 from the top of the second column of the fuse box.

The air pump connector is on the black circlular motor housing to the left of the oil filler cap. Removal is recommend to reduce power drain on the battery, to prevent fuel vapour blowing back in to the chambers, and to reduce the possibility of a backfire after starting which can damage the catalyst.



This is part true, but mostly untrue.

If you start up an RX8, move it 2 feet and then stop the engine, you dramitically increase the chance of flooding the engine (for the reasons described by crabacle above). It’s not a certainty though. That said, it is strongly suggested you don’t do that.

You don’t have to go on a 10 mile run to avoid the problem though (although it might be fun).

How to minimise the chance of flooding

1 - If the temperature gauge is in it’s normal position (normally there after ~5 minutes of driving), then it’s highly unlikely the engine will flood. So don’t worry about it.

2 - If you need to move the car a short distance when it’s cold (it’s ok when it’s already warm - see point 1), sit there and enjoy the music/engine/exhaust note for a few minutes until the temperature gauge begins to move. Once this has begun to move, it’s highly unlikely to flood.

3 - Follow the shutdown procedure (although generally option 2 is preferred). There is a leaflet provided by Mazda with the newer RX8’s that covers this.

4 - Go for a short drive (couple of miles). Preferably down some twisty country lanes. That should warm both you and the car up.

I’ve personally followed these guidelines for the last 3.5 years, and haven’t flooded the engine yet (now touching wood).

If the worst does happen and you flood the engine follow Mazda’s guidelines initially (described by crabacle above), and if that doesn’t work try druck’s solution (above).

Credits to rx8ownersclub.co.uk


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