I happened to be perusing one of my new favorite websites nextautos.com and came across an article for the 93 RX-7 that claimed it may be the greatest sports car of all time. I personally agree. The pixels weren’t even dry however before the reliability card was pulled. This being a sore spot of mine I had to chime in. Read my response below…
Let me dispel those reliability fears right now.
Its true the vast majority of examples belonging to the dead 7s society do so because of blown water seals, over heating, and shattered apex seals. However I just help but to take up a Jihad every time I hear that reliability card pulled on the RX-7.
If you cant tell from my defensive position on the subject, I’m a FD RX-7 owner who has seen the end of my own 13B engine and I can tell you one thing for a certainty, all of the horror stories you’ve heard about this car are all thanks to the poor maintenance habits of their negligent owners. I admit, I’m also part of that club.
What I’ve learned from my experience as I researched to complete my first rotary rebuild, is that that engine has to be absolutely pampered. The car needs to be warmed up and allowed to cool down. Not doing so degrades the oil very quickly in turbo cars which doesn’t make it easy for the turbos and apex seals to do their jobs. Its easy to understand the turbo side of things, however most don’t know that the RX-7 injects oil into the combustion chambers to lubricate those apex seals. I am convinced that if proper and timely oil changes are carried out, the seals would be well lubricated and not generate so much internal heat which I believe is most likely why water seals, which are very close to the combustion chambers to begin with, loosen and expand to failure. That having been said, the car does benefit greatly from minor cooling modifications as well.
Staying on top of those two issues alone would keep the vast majority of RX-7 owners out of a lot of trouble. Like me its not something many pay attention to when making their purchases and completely forget about the first time they experience wide open throttle past 4000 rpm. Make sure the life blood of your rotary is changed just a little sooner than you would in any other vehicle and keep it cool. This will make for a very long lasting RX-7 that will continue to provide oodles of fun every time you turn the key.
The rest of the conversation can be read here: http://www.nextautos.com/forums/keepers-buying-owning-and-driving-great-used-classic-cars/keepers-mazda-rx-7-best-japanese-sp#comment-123666