Shocked by the sensor… The begining of my RX-8 service trials…

I waited a while after the RX-8 hit the market to start my drooling, partially in hopes that all the bugs would get worked out. While the engine may be rock solid, the electrical system seems to need wome work. I’ll post later about my iPod kit saga, but I’m still putting together some information needed for the post. This post is about the alarm system…

The 2007 RX-8 Grand Touring comes standard with keyless entry, which is pretty damn neat. I am sure it is a horrible security weakness and that I could probably find schematics on-line to build a device that could sniff and then mimic my transmitter; but at the moment I’m too charmed by the coolness to care. The alarm system is pretty basic: electric locks and engine lockout. The keyless entry adds the ability to open the doors and start the engine without a physical key.

The stock system doesn’t include break-in detection. That is an option available for $60, according to the Mazda website. $60 for the part, which is listed as an option on the website when configuring your dream car. If you get it later, it is $60 plus labor to install and calibrate. With the shock sensor is installed the alarm is upgraded to detect broken windows.

Ordering the car with this component pre-installed would have delayed my purchase by weeks or months, so I opted to have it installed after purchase. I ordered the part the same day I picked up the car. It came in the following week, but I decided to order the iPod kit as well, and since I wanted to have a few service trips as possible I waited for the iPod kit to come in to get the shock sensor installed.

The install didn’t go well. The shock sensor wasn’t accepting calibration. They declared the part dead and ordered me a new one, and I would have to bring my car back later. Perhaps if the iPod kit install had not been such a time suck, they might have realized that there was something a little more wrong than the sensor not accepting callibration…

So, new sensor comes in, and once again I drop my car off for the day. At the end of the day I get a call: the car is ready, but the work isn’t done. Seems this sensor behaved the same way, and someone noticed that it was getting hot to the touch. This time they called tech support, and after fiddling for a while the conclusion was that the shock sensor is not compatible with the keyless entry system that is stock on the GT model. If this is true, this is going to be a major headache for Mazda as the 2007 GT models get into more people’s hands.

Supposedly the engineers at Mazda are working on the problem. Supposedly I will get a call one day and they’ll tell me they have a new version of the shock sensor available for my car. Seems odd to me that it had never been tested before they put it on the website, and in the brochure, as an optional add-on.

I want the sensor, but what is my recourse if the dealer tells me that despite being in the literature that it doesn’t work with the top of the line RX-8?


Isn’t she purdy?

A motorcycle is great transportation in the San Francisco Bay Area, but try carting around a couple of servers on the back of a bike.

The more I thought about it, the more I wanted a car again. So, I did a little bit of shopping around and my eyes quickly settled on a slick little puppy whose family predecessor had entralled me years ago. Saturday I went for a test drive with Nancy, did a dealer search for one with the features I wanted, ordered it, and picked it up the following Wednesday.

Isn’t she purdy?

Chris Knight's RX-8

I haven’t named it yet, but it’s formal name is “Stormy Blue Mica 2007 Mazda RX-8 GT”. In the dark it looks black, and in the sun it is a very rich blue. I never thought I would buy a new vehicle that wasn’t black, but this is a really incredible paint. I haven’t worked it through the break-in period yet, so I haven’t been able to really run it through its paces but so far it is one amazing car. The dual rotary engine has a lot of spunk, and the rear wheel drive means I can do rear-slide turns like I haven’t been able to do since my 1974 Pontiac Grand Am. The RX-8 has a 50-50 weight distribution, so it handles far better than my Grand Am ever could have. It’s even poly-practical as a four-door, four-seater; but the rear doors are suicide doors keeping the look wicked cool.

-Chris Knight