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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Rotary Power! poss. getting '82 RX-7 Your thoughts?

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8 replies to this topic

#1 northgeorgiaroo


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Posted 06 June 2008 - 12:11 AM

OK, I am having some problems with the current 'roo. 4EAT appears to be on its last legs. Won't shift out of 1st, tried the easy fixes, NOT getting rid of her just yet, but I have to get to work you know!

A friend has offered to sell his 82 RX-7 in (he says) near MINT condition.

I am seriously intrigued by the thought of going Rotary. As a serious devotee of the KISS (keep it simple, stupid!) theory of mechanical engineering, a motor that has no valves or valvetrain, leaving fewer than 20 moving parts sounds like a dream.

Anyone have experience with Mazda rotary? Esp. this vintage (i think it's the 12A engine).

Any advice would be appreciated.


#2 audio_file



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Posted 06 June 2008 - 02:02 AM

"EJ it" :dead:

but seriously. the main issue RX7's have, aside from the fact that almost every single one left has been abused, is gasket/seal that closes off the "combustion chamber" goes bad, = compression leak . . . the good news is that the 82 is the last of the "gen 1, phase 1" and you don't have to worry about the crappy turbo's in the later models

yes that's a 12a


on a side note, i just happened to see one of the old mazda rotary trucks yesterday, was pretty cool to see . . . . sometimes you worry about cool old vehicles (that aren't quite collector items, but still . . .) going extinct FTL . . .

#3 3eyedwagon


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Posted 06 June 2008 - 02:52 AM

What's the mileage on the engine? By that I mean since its' last overhaul. Audio File is right when saying you really have to worry about the seals. As with all Wankel engines, the Apex Seals in that motor are it's weakest link. The problem is that bad seals can ruin the rotor housing. The 12a is a great motor, and I've seen some pretty amazing things done with them. But, they can last anywhere from 20 thousand miles, to 150 thousand miles. More importantly than other engine designs; it really depends on the life they've lived. With proper maintenance, these motors are highly reliable. The problem is that very few rotarys have ever received proper maintenance.

I hate to bring bad news, but if you are looking at this car for pure reliabilty; I would probably look elsewhere. I want to make it clear that I am not in any way speaking poorly of this motor, or its' drivetrain. I am in fact a big fan of Wankel engines. My point is that STATISTICALLY, probably through no fault of its' own, this car will leave you walking. Unless you are willing to learn everything you need to know, and invest in the specialized tooling necessary to work on this car (not really that bad to do); this car could get costly for you to own/operate. That is the main reason you just don't see many of them on the road anymore. Also, once the rotor housing is eaten up - they get expensive/scarce to replace.

If you are looking for a hobby car, that isn't your only means of transportation; I would probably go for it. They are an entertaining motor to work on, and a big plus is; everyone will think you are an eccentric nut job for owning and driving one! Especially if you "invest" in a driving hat, and gloves! :burnout:

#4 northgeorgiaroo


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Posted 06 June 2008 - 04:34 PM


Not what I wanted to hear, but probably what I needed to hear.

Reliability issues, poor mileage added to the issue of it being a 2-seater pretty much kills the idea. Oh well...

The IRS check will go instead to give the 90 lego wagon a transmission.

(please see thread in WTB if you have any info on tranny in the Georgia/Tennessee/Alabama/Carolinas area)


#5 WoodsWagon


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Posted 10 August 2008 - 12:17 PM

I've got a neighbor who has a pile of these. 2 1984 13b cars that he drives and then 7-9 12a cars sitting down back. I used one of the 13b's in an autocross, and I have to say the steering sucks untill you break the back end loose. Then it gets nice and light and maneuverable.

#6 coxy


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Posted 19 January 2009 - 08:12 AM

Here in Australia Rotaries have been fitted to brumby's (ie Brat to you guys) interesting conversion probably the original Subaru 4 wheel burnout machine.
Biggest thing to be aware of is only 13b and later rotaries have Mazda spares backup these days for all parts so 12 a can be a problem in this area.
If cheap enough any RX7 with a 13B can be OK,but they are not a bulletproof old Chevy Six reliability wise unless treated correctly.

#7 bheinen74



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Posted 19 January 2009 - 10:43 AM

If you going to get a gen1 rx-7, even if this one is mint, i would have to, absolutely have to suggest getting a 84 or 85 GSL-SE. that model especially. search "gsl-se" and you will see. its the 13b in the first gen, with lsd, and extras. its the gsl, special edition. worth every penny if you find a reall one, kinda the holy grail of the 1st gens. even you you have already found a mnt82, search a little longer and hold off for a gsl-se

#8 northgeorgiaroo


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Posted 19 January 2009 - 10:32 PM

Thanks for the advice, bheinen, but this was actually a while ago. The deal fell through for a multitude of reasons, the main one being that the guy's idea of "mint" meant with a bad paint job covering a fair amount of body work.

As far as I know, he's still driving it. And it does fly, I'll give it that.

And I still have my wagon which I am going to have to fix up or sell one of these days. (ah well, maybe with THIS income tax check....)

#9 Awddrift4


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Posted 26 January 2009 - 11:37 PM

i now drive a 90 rx-7. and i love it.

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