Was trying to keep it simple…

Ok, we’re through Christmas with New Year’s Eve upon us and it’s time for the RX8 to get some upgrades and much needed maintenance. This car was daily driven for the first 4 years of its life and then weekend warrior and then track junky / garage queen. Needless to say, there are some items that need attention after nearly 9 years of duty and 94K on the clock.

It was all starting with this:


My plan was to go through and do some general maintenance and some preventative items with a few minor upgrades. Into the second day of work on the car, I quickly learned, that wasn’t going to be the case.

The list that I had PLANNED to do:

– Install new KOYO radiator

– Install new SAMCO coolant lines

– Replace all the oil lines (after having to replace one on the spot two events ago due to failure)

– Relocate oil filter

– New belts and vac lines

– Brake bleed, dif & trans fluid refresh

– Air pump delete

– New battery and battery box


Hiccup #1

So, in the process of removing the undertray, my very professional “racer” fix to a little cone damage has come apart:


It was being held together with zip-ties which lasted several events. The plan here is actually build a new ABS plastic version. It will be stronger and probably only add a few ounces of weight. I may also look at building a splitter into it as well.

 Hiccup #2

After that issue, I went to check the rad fans. Condensor fan, check… radiator fan… not so check. F$CK! New OEM fans for the RX8 are over $300 delivered. Aftermarket alternatives prove less than sufficient when it comes to flow (at least when it comes to the affordable fans). My options were to find a decent used set or go aftermarket for big $$. Since the RX8 is actually not my priority project, I opted on the used OEM side. Now, some people frown on buying used OEM fans – but honestly, the factory ones are very efficient and if you can find a low mileage set, they should be good for a while. Hell, the original on the car is operational, just “going bad” now at 94K miles. I found a fellow racer (Mike Kuhn Racing) who had an extra set with 28K miles on it. Done. They are on their way!

Hiccup #3

So, while under the car with all the plastics out of the way, I was confronted with broken welds… on my reinforcement bar. Plastic duct work was cracked and things weren’t lining up behind the bumper as they should. It turns out that trading paint at 10MPH or so is enough to make me have to spend $$ on a new reinforcement bar. Luckily, I’ve found a few second hand units and this should be a non-issue in a few days.

However, to go through all this effort, I’ll want to prep and repaint some exposed areas of the frame that are showing their age and surface rust is appearing. I’ll replace the old bumper cover with a new one that not only is not scratched and rippled, but will let the new radiator do what it was meant to.

As the car sits now going into 2013:

So, a simple radiator swap and maintenance items has grown into an entire new front end really. The list of things to do before March now include:

– New front bumper cover

– New reinforcement bar

– Repaint areas under hood and bumper

– New duct work

– RB Ram air intake duct

– headlight covers

– custom fog light brackets

– custom license plate bracket


As soon as the RX3 is done, the RX8 will be spending a lot more time on the street so I’m actually looking forward to fixing all these items. I think the car is going to turn out really well, just wish I had more time!


Stay tuned. Details on each upgrade will come…

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