28th Nov 2006, 19:03

I've owned six first-generation RX7s, two of which we still have: an '84 GSL and an '85 GSL.

While well-maintained RX7s can certainly put up the miles, eventually even these bullet-proof power plants need to be rebuilt. The catch is that not all rebuilds are created equal, and there are several "specialists" who will sell you a rebuilt rotary that has just enough life left in it to outlast their "warranty."

They will often re-use rotor housings that have flaking chrome and/ or side housings that have either a) no nitriding left on the wear surfaces due to being re-used without first being lapped and re-nitrided, b) lapped, but not properly re-nitrided (if at all) or c) worn beyond specs, but re-used anyway--- a guarantee that seal wear will be accelerated and the engine will begin to use excessive quantities of oil within say, 25,000 miles.

Don't even get me started on their tendency to re-use other items such as thrust bearings, side seals and apex seals--- components that should always be replaced upon tear-down as a matter of course.

I'd recommend buying new or reconditioned housings straight from Mazda, Mazdatrix or (if you have a contact) directly from suppliers in Japan and then rebuilding the engine yourself. They are an easy engine to rebuild by the way, and there are step-by-step videos and DVDs that detail the procedure very well.

If you're not that mechanically inclined, buy the parts anyway and then have a reputable rebuilder assemble and install it for you. Be sure to discretely mark the housings so that you can verify that the new ones you bought are the ones that went into the rebuild. Even some "reputable" rebuilders will swindle a customer if they think there is no chance of ever getting caught.

On a lighter note, these are very enjoyable cars to own and drive. I tell those who continue to slam the Mazda rotary that "if you've never owned one you wouldn't understand." Also, pristine examples are beginning to appreciate.

13th Jan 2009, 23:30

By the reviews I have heard, the RX-7 is the next evolution as far as my next race car goes. Reliable, dependable and easy to work on. I am all over that, and thanks for the info.