Q: How would I find information about the details of an engine?
Skill level #1 Owners Manual. Useful for basic maintenance & initial trouble shooting. [Probably not detailed enough for you]
Skill level #2 Haynes Manual. Useful for everything short of major surgery. [Probably the correct level of detail for you]
Skill level #3 Shop Manual. Very expensive & assumes you’ve got special tools. [Probably too detailed for you]
Q: What defines good "tuning"?
In the case of piston engines, valve timing is the most critical parameter tuned. Rotary engines have no valves so there’s less to be tuned.
Q: What's the difference between maintaining a rotory engine vs a piston engine?
I understand you’ve got an electronics background…Rotaries are to transistors as pistons are to vacuum tubes. Rotary engines only have three major moving parts compared to dozens & dozens for piston engine. All things being equal, rotary engines will fail much less frequently than piston engines. However, rotary engines have finer tolerances than piston engines & most of their parts can be described as both critical & internal. The bottom line is that all things being equal, rotary engines will require service much, much less frequently than piston engines but when they do, it’s a big deal.
BTW, I’m the original owner of a ’87 RX-7. It’s been my daily driver for fifteen years & I’ve put 252,000 miles on it’s original, un-rebuilt engine; compression all around is still in the upper nineties so there’s still plenty of life left. What’s my secret you ask??? Keep plenty of fresh oil in it…Make sure the cooling system is working properly…Don’t abuse it by hitting the red line at every stop light. If you can manage to do those three things, you’ll be fine.
The third generation RX-7’s tended to burn up their engines very frequently. I believe this was caused by a sort of “Perfect Storm” where you had the combination of extremely aggressive drivers buying the cars (because of their tremendous bang for the buck ratio) & huge turbo systems creating intensely high temperatures.
I’m expecting the RX-8’s to hold up about as good as the second generation RX-7’s did which is extremely well.
Once again though...Oil, Cooling & kindness. Ignore anyone & all bets are off.
Last edited by RX7 Guy; 08-16-2002 at 03:26 PM.