Flooding is a Myth


Well, not really. The myth is around how and why rotaries flood. People think that rotaries flood "just because", when they don't. There is very clear and specific reasons for why flooding occurs, very simple maintenance to never encounter it, and if it happens and very simple steps to deflood on your own without needing an expensive tow to the dealer.

What is flooding?

Flooding, per the rotary engine term, is when there is too much gasoline in the combustion chamber. This only happens when driver attempts to start the engine, but the engine doesn't immediately start. The ECU is pumping fuel while the engine is cranking, and if the engine doesn't start up quickly enough, all this fuel just soaks the plugs, washes around in the housing, and keeps the ignition from actually firing.

Flooding is only a concern if you have a weak ignition system, failing compression, failing battery, and/or failing starter.

Every single flood I have seen reported ended up coming down to one of these failing: Battery, Starter, Coil(s), Plug Wire(s), Plug(s), and/or Engine Compression.

  • If it's the battery that failed, the starter can't spin the engine fast enough, so the engine won't get good enough compression, and the air/fuel mixture won't ignite with any force.
  • If it's the starter that failed, the starter can't spin the engine fast enough, so the engine won't get good enough compression, and the air/fuel mixture won't ignite with any force.
  • If it's the engine compression that has failed, the engine won't get good enough compression, and the air/fuel mixture won't ignite with any force.
  • If it's the coils, plug wires, or plugs that have failed, it doesn't matter what compression you can achieve, what engine speed you can reach, you need a spark to light the air/fuel mixture!

Stay on top of the maintenance (long term included!) and you will wonder what all the fuss was about. Coils, plugs, and wires, should be replaced every 30,000 miles, possibly sooner if you detect something starting to fail, since people have had them fail as early as 8,000 miles or 15,000 miles, though that's rare. You can replace them for as little as about $200.

You don't want to shut off while it's cold simply because when the engine is cold, the ECU dumps more fuel into engine to help it warm up, and it leans back once the engine is warm. This extra fuel can make it harder to start an ignition, which a healthy ignition system is perfectly capable of overcoming. Weaken the ignition with failing plugs, coils, wires, alternator, starter, or battery, and you have a flood on your hands, and all the associated problems from that.

How do I fix flooding?

  1. Hook up the battery of another running car to the 8's battery via jumper cables to make sure you don't kill your battery.
  2. Hold the gas pedal to the floor
  3. Turn the key to Start and crank for 5-10 seconds
  4. Let the starter cool off for the same time that you cranked it for
  5. Repeat 3 and 4 10 times total
  6. Take your foot off the gas and let the starter rest for 5 minutes
  7. Repeat 2-6 one more time.
  8. Attempt to start the engine normally.
  9. if it doesn't start, repeat 2-6 one more time, then try starting again.

If it still doesn't start, then you have a major failure somewhere that is preventing it from having a chance at starting (see the list mentioned earlier), but if it's just a normal flood, this will solve it.

If you would prefer to use a different deflooding method, see here:

HOWEVER, only pick ONE method. Mixing method almost always results in lots of frustration. The steps given are not arbitrary, they have real reason and purpose behind them, and they depend on the other steps being performed correctly. Pick just one at a time.