February 21, 2014 by firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mazda RX8 is a great car! It does have some quirks, a weak clutch pedal bracket being one of them. If the clutch pedal in your Mazda RX8 breaks, there might be a more cost-effective remedy than purchasing a new pedal assembly.
When the clutch pedal in our RX8 suddenly became loose, I looked up under the dashboard to investigate. I discovered that the clutch pedal mounting bracket had broken at the weld points, allowing the pedal to move from side to side. At times, the clutch would not release without pulling it up with your foot.
An internet search revealed that this is a common problem for earlier model RX8s (2004-2006). It’s a big enough safety issue that the government in the USA had Mazda extend the warranty on this part to 8 years, with a cap of 100,000 miles (read about it here: NHTSA Service Bulletin for Mazda RX8 clutch). Since our RX8 is 10 years old and has over 100,000 miles, we were out of luck for getting it fixed for free.
A new clutch assembly is between $150 and $200, for the part, not including the labor to install it. Replacing a clutch pedal assembly is not super difficult, the biggest issue being that it is way up under the dashboard, making the pedal assembly mounting hardware very difficult to access. Normally, I’d try to tackle a job like this myself; however, since I’m totally immersed in the bathroom renovation from Hell, I opted to have it fixed by our fantastic independent mechanic.
Note: If your clutch pedal breaks, this is a huge safety issue. You really should not drive the car at all. If you absolutely must drive it to get somewhere safe or to transport to a garage, use extreme caution. The pedal can easily jam and leave you stuck in gear – be prepared to knock he shift lever into neutral, if this happens (this can be difficult). If the pedal breaks fully, the car will be completely undrivable and will need to be towed.
The good news…
If the pedal bracket is broken at the welds, there is a good chance that it can be removed from the car and re-welded (this is what I had done). Done properly, a welded pedal assembly is stronger than the original. Repairing the existing pedal assembly ended up saving me money, the cost of the repair limited to just a bit more than the labor cost for replacing the pedal assembly – remove/install charge was the same, with the labor to weld it far less than the cost of a new pedal assembly.
If the pedal assembly breaks in another area aside from the welds, or if the pedal assembly is damaged in other ways, it might need to be replaced. Reinforcing/repair kits for the RX8 clutch pedal assembly are available online for around $65. These can help prevent the pedal assembly from breaking and can also be used to fix a broken pedal assembly, depending on how it is broken.