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Old 11-25-2002, 07:21 PM   #1
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Default Car buffs! Need advice ('89 Mazda RX-7)!!!

My girlfriend's dad has had this car sitting in his garage for three years. He said that if I can come up with the money for it, he'd flush and change all the fluids and filters in the car for me and clean it up. It would be replacing my twice wrecked '88 Honda Civic DX (no power steering, looks like hell but it runs!)

I was just hoping for some advice. It has a 2 year old paint job on it, beautiful. The interior is all leather and looks great (needs some Armor All). Brand new tires. Only thing I that turns me off about it is it has 120k miles on it, and my Honda has 155k, so it wouldn't be that much different. I hear that the Mazda rotary engines last forever, tho, and supposedly this car has never broken down.

He only wants $2000 for it, and I've seen comprable cars for sale in various places for like $4000-$5000. Just wanted a little advice if anyone's willing to give!
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Old 11-25-2002, 07:50 PM   #2
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If it's been sitting two years, it may need some gaskets replaced, especially if he hasn't started it for that long. I know nothing about car prices.
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Old 11-25-2002, 08:04 PM   #3
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Default old car back into service


If the car wasn't properly prepared before being garaged, you may have some problems even after the fluid flush/refill.

Most of the hoses and gaskets *MAY* have suffered dry rot or become embrittled. This might not even show up right away. If you can, have a mechanic come out and inspect the car. Expect to pay $50 or so for this service if you don't have a buddy who can do it for free. Think about replacing plugs & plug wires as well, and the battery & battery cables.

I had an '81 280ZX that was put up on blocks for about 2 years until I put it back in service. Had to replace one belt, a hose, and a gasket right away. One month later, another hose blew a leak. Very annoying 50 miles from home. The next mechanic replaced more hoses (that weren't leaking, but showed signs of dry rot) and another belt (some of the hoses & belts for older cars have to be special ordered as they aren't kept in stock, and they can be pricy) and then I was pretty much set.

You may be perfectly okay with what you are planning, but you may want to weigh the risks of future mechanical repairs and high maintenance costs continuing to rise as the car gets older.

If this is going to be your main mode of transportation, reliability is going to be something you want. The rotary engines ARE tanks, so you hopefully won't have any problems there, but the rest of the car may not be as lucky for you. Will you be garaging the car? We're running into the heart of winter now. Rust on that nice paint job might not be a concern, but what about the undercarriage?

I personally prefer to drive a newer model (2001) car that I don't have to worry about giving me problems. My spouse drives an '89 Corolla for around town that has had very few problems, but when it is out of commission, it isn't a big deal for us, since we have 3 cars. Family trips we take the (gasp!) minivan. Can't wait to get rid of it. (At least they are all paid for!)

For a limited budget of $2000, you may want to go a bit newer, a little less flashy (consider auto rates on a sports car vs. a sedan), and more reliable. Also remember you can only seat 2 in the RX-7, which kind of limits your options in certain situations if you have alot of friends.

Good luck with whatever you choose. I like the looks of that model RX-7. For not a lot of money, you can put a blower on btw, and crank out some serious horsepower out of that rotary engine.
But that's a whoe different ball of wax.

Take care,
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Old 11-26-2002, 05:49 AM   #4
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Find out the last time the apex seals on the rotor were changed. Those are the main worry with rotary engines.
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Old 11-26-2002, 06:48 AM   #5
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check to see how much more it is to insure before you commit too - some vehicles are on various insurers "prohibitted" list.
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Old 11-26-2002, 10:41 AM   #6
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Man, it's a rotary engine. That thing will last you till 300k+ as long as you keep the oil changed. Friend of mine had one with 346k miles on it, and it ran like a dream. And his was a first generation RX-7. You would have a second generation if it's an 89'.

My dream car would be a third gen RX-7, chartuse silver, with action sport red leather interior, twin turbo. /droooooooool
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Old 11-26-2002, 02:00 PM   #7
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Default rotary engine

Thats all you need to know, This thing can be stupid fast if you want to spend the time, plus with the proper preperation you can get a redline close to 9K, MY GAWD. Stupid fast
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Old 11-26-2002, 02:59 PM   #8
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I have two RX-7's, and 89 and 91.

Some things you need to know:
That is a FC3S, or second generation RX-7. The model line got a revamp in 1989 to have more horsepower and to correct some design flaws in the original 86 design. Because of that some parts aren't interchangable between the two series. Not to offend anyone who owns one, but 86-88 RX-7s suck compared to the 89-91's because of the weird design bugs they hadn't gotten worked out.

These cars are awesome track cars, they handle like a dream and have plenty of power to be fast, but not drag cars. They're REAL sports cars and you'll enjoy out cornering and handing practically anything other than Miatas. Your Honda will seem clunky and crude after you drive this car.

I'm sure this car has been taken care of, so I'm not going to go into VDI, secondary port actuators or anything like that. Ask him when the last time he got the engine compression tested was though. That's key in knowing how healthy a rotary is, even though they are built like tanks.

Some things you need to know before you buy the car:

RX-7s are not as fuel efficent as your Honda by a long shot. I get between 15-20mpg depeding entirely on how I drive.

ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OIL - the Rotary uses oil as part of the combustion process, so check it frequently. I usually have to add a quart about every 1500 miles or so and that's normal.

Make sure you always warm the car up before you drive it. There's a little thermal pellet (see below) that has to melt before oil pressure is regulated throughout the engine. It's a trick Mazda used to get the car to pass cold cranking emissions, but you won't get checked for that during normal DMV emissions inspections.

After you buy it, the first thing you should to is go to Mazdatrix and buy a factory service manual for that car.

They're cool people and know vast amounts about RX-7s.

Another place that's cool is Atkins Rotary. The owner has been building rotaries for race cars and planes for about 25-30 years. They have lots of reliability parts (GET A THERMAL PELLET REPLACEMENT KIT!).

If you ever want an engine rebuild, go to this guy, he's one of the best in the country:

If you want more info, or just talk to people who own RX-7s, go to

Last edited by Codsan; 11-26-2002 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 11-27-2002, 03:39 AM   #9
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It's a good deal in my opinion Jelly.

You said your Civic runs but doesn't look good, if it runs it's worth $1000. Sell the Civic, buy the RX7, leaves you $1000 for any repairs you may need to do.

Sit on the money and drive the car for a month, any mechanical problems will show themselves in the first month most likely.
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Old 11-27-2002, 03:55 AM   #10
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Can repeat what has been said here. It'll run forever but you'll replace most of your hoses and anything rubber within the first 1000 miles. It's standard with any car that's not in use for such a long time.

Make sure you've got breakdown cover or whatever you have over there.
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