Starting a Mazda RX-8 with a flooded engine
I’ve only had this happen once before and, as then, I couldn’t get the engine restarted using the manufacturer’s technique of fully depressing the throttle (should cut the fuel), cranking the engine for 10 seconds (should clear the flood) and then cranking as normal. Having tried this a couple of times, I soon ran the battery flat and so had to recharge it overnight.
Next day, I tried the tips from this excellent blog post. It describes how to unplug the air pump and remove the fuel pump fuse to assist with starting. I tried this but again failed, mainly due to lack of charge in the battery even though it was fully recharged. The same technique was used by the RAC chap who got me going the first time this happened – it took him about 20 minutes and of course he had access to a much better power source on his van.
Now out of options, I called the AA. The chap they sent out took a rather different approach which I’ll attempt to describe here in case anyone would like to try it:1. Remove the nearside rear seat base cover. The lower seat cushion simply pulls up (see comment 57 from KenF below). 2. This reveals an access panel which is held in place by 4 sheet metal screws. Remove these screws and the panel. 3. There is a single electrical connector (black plug with 3 cables connected to it) on the pump assembly that provides power to the fuel pump and readings from the left-side tank level sensor. Take a moment to learn how to disconnect and reconnect this connector.
4. If possible, connect an additional power source to the battery (another battery or another car via jump leads).
5. Position yourself in the driver’s seat with your left hand stretched behind you (assuming you have a right-hand drive vehicle) ready to connect/disconnect the fuel pump. Keep it in the disconnected position.
6. Apply around 1/3 throttle on the accelerator pedal. Use your right hand to turn the ignition key.
7. The engine will turn but not start. After around 10 seconds, connect the fuel pump for a few seconds then disconnect.
8. You may need to repeat this a few times. Don’t crank for more than about 30 seconds at a time though to save your starter motor!
9. After a few tries, hopefully you’ll hear the engine getting close to starting. The point of connecting and disconnecting is that you are trying to clear the engine and then reconnect at just the right time to get the fuel pumping again (see Andy’s comment, 8 below).
The AA chap said that using this technique he can usually get RX-8s restarted in around half the time it takes using the fuse removal, etc. Apparently he learnt this from a chance conversation with an engineer from Mazda. I suspect it’s the sort of thing you need to try a few times to get it right, but it certainly seems to offer more control over the process as you can access and change all inputs at the same time (fuel pump, throttle and ignition).
Let me know if you try it. As always though, it’s at your own risk – I don’t want any repair bills for a knackered fuel pump or catalytic converter
If you leave a comment below, it would be great if you could add which country you are in, there are quite a few here already!