Before 8 Aug 2015, where RX8 owners all over West Malaysia will gather to commemorate the RX8s just like the RX7s did on 7 of July, this writeup was penned to highlight what Wankel Rotary Owners have to deal with everyday.
“Rotary can only use mineral oil”
- Fully Synthetic oil is not a problem for a rotary engine. It just doesn’t burn off as well as mineral oils, which a rotary engine needs to do because it lubricates the apex seals. Paired with 2T oil or Idemitsu Premix then it will not be a problem. Otherwise do some research on what oils to use. Some of the owners are using Mobil 1 because it has the same burning point (flash point) and viscosity. More importantly, it has better viscosity and is stable when exposed to extreme temperatures.
"Apex Seals are fragile" - No no no, apex seals doesn’t break so easily. The OEM factory apex seals are but Super Apex Seals and Power Seals are reliable. Just ensure timely oil changes and make sure the oil level is sufficient as oil burning is a rotary characteristic. Also, the tuning and fuel must be done right and of top quality.
"Renesis 13B-MSP Can’t Be Turbo-ed"
- With the right tuning, the Renesis can be choo-chooing too just like the Greddy Turboed RX8 which we’ll be featuring this Saturday. But if you want more reliable power, a lot of parts have to be changed. Mainly because the injectors are small, ignition coils are not strong enough and the Renesis’ rotors are high compression. There are people who swap the rotors of previous generation engines but a skillfull and knowledgeable builder is needed. If all else fails, swapping a 13B-REW of the FD3S or the 20B from Cosmo can quench your thirst.
"Will only last 50,000km"
- Like any engine, it won’t last if it isn’t looked after properly. Though not as fool proof as a piston engine, rotaries can be reliable even after 120,000km. The only time they need to be rebuilt (we heard) is when the previous owner didn’t pamper the engine plus both the RX7 FD (1991 - 2002) and RX8 (2003 - 2012) are aged. As a precaution get a big oil cooler as they generally run very (I would write 2 x very, but it would be grammatically wrong) hot.
"It has no power"
- One complaint RX8 owners always have is the power it makes - or doesn’t in this case. Usually it is because of a clogged and tired catalytic converter (catcon) as these type of cars are old. Rotary engines burn oil to lubricate the apex seals, when it gets dumped out of the exhaust, it ruins the catcon. It’s very easy to check - lie down on the floor, have a peak at the catcon. If it is glowing red after a drive, that means the catcon has failed. Solution? Gut the catcon innards or delete it altogether.
“Warming Up and Cooling Down requirements”
- Yes, these engines need to be warmed up during cold start and need to be cooled down after a vigorous run. However you do not need to warm it up every time you turn the engine off. E.g- repositioning the car every 5 minutes for a photoshoot.
“Bro, your V8 sounds mean.”
- Everytime at a meet, there will always be a clueless non-Wankel enthusiast thinking the brap is a V8. Not cool.
“Isn’t this a rotary engine?”
- No, it’s not a rotary engine. It is a Wankel Rotary Engine that is found in some Mazdas. A typical rotary engine commonly found in aviation has connecting rods and pistons but they are being rotated, hence the name rotary engine. Wankel Rotary Engine is found under the category of Rotary Engines as well but they are completely different. Most notably the triangle (illuminati confirmed) Dorito Rotors. Designed by Felix Wankel during 1929, made into production in 1950s by NSU. But it was Mazda who made advancements with the Wankel powerplant, making it more reliable than any manufacturers have ever done. When/if the RX9 comes out, rest assured it will be one hell of an engine.
Only true-blue enthusiasts would appreciate a Wankel Rotary engine car. Comparable with your hot supermodel girlfriend - high maintenance, but sexy as hell. Screams a lot too, and she likes it that way.
Thanks to Dan, David and Mahathir for their advice. Brap on! - Bee